ISLAMABAD, 01 June 2022:  The second National Immunization Days (NIDs) campaign of 2022 reached more than 43 million children under the age of five. The five-day campaign was launched on 23 May across Pakistan.  The campaign was synchronised with Afghanistan so that children on both sides of the border received vaccines at the same time and are protected from polio.

Over three hundred thousand (340,000) trained and dedicated polio workers were engaged in the vaccination drive to inoculate the children at their doorstep. A supplementary dose of Vitamin A was also administered to the eligible children.

Dr. Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Centre, Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI), expressed satisfaction over the successful conclusion of the immunization campaign.

“Pakistan has made enormous progress over the last 18 months, but we need to drive even harder to achieve the results we want.  We need to ensure all eligible children are vaccinated during each campaign to build their immunity against polio,” Dr Baig said.  He went on to state that the programme has intensified its efforts to address challenges related to vaccine hesitancy, community engagement and service delivery, to counter the long-standing issues following the emergence of new polio cases in South KP.

There have been six cases reported in North Waziristan recently after a gap of 15 months. The programme has taken various initiatives to reduce the risk of virus transmission, focusing on specific geographical areas. Vaccination of children in various transit points for children on the move with their families strengthens further.    

The campaign was inaugurated by Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif at the PM House in Islamabad, reaffirming the Government’s commitment to polio eradication. 

The Sehat Tahhafuz Helpline 1166 and 24/7 WhatsApp Helpline 0346-777-65-46 assisted parents and caregivers in reporting missed children and responding to queries on immunisation. The repeated polio vaccination campaigns are imperative for building immunity among children and preventing possible death or lifelong paralysis.


Note for the Editor:

Polio is a highly infectious disease caused by poliovirus mainly affecting children under the age of five years. It invades the nervous system and can cause paralysis or even death. While there is no cure for polio, vaccination is the most effective way to protect children from this crippling disease. Each time a child under the age of five is vaccinated, their protection against the virus is increased. Repeated immunisations have protected millions of children from polio, allowing almost all countries in the world to become polio-free. Pakistan is one of the two polio-endemic countries in the world along with its neighbour Afghanistan.

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