Islamabad, January 8, 2024 – The first nationwide polio vaccination campaign of 2024 began in the country on Monday to protect children from paralytic polio.

During the ongoing nationwide campaign, more than 44.3 million children under five years of age will be given oral polio drops during the five-day-long campaign which will continue until January 12. Children in Lakki Marwat and South Waziristan Upper and Lower will be vaccinated from January 15-19, while the campaign will be held in Tank from January 15-21 and in DI Khan from January 22-28.

Over 400,000 vaccinators will bring the vaccine at children’s doorstep. In Punjab, 22.6 million children will be vaccinated, while 10.3 million children in Sindh, 7.5 million children in KP, 2.6 million children in Balochistan, 0.72 million children in AJK, 0.28 million children in GB and 0.42 million children in Islamabad.

Dr Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Center for Polio Eradication, urged parents to open their doors to vaccinators so their children can receive this essential vaccine.

“Polio has no cure. It is a devastating disease that affects not just individual children but also changes the lives of the whole family,” he said. “The polio vaccine offers protection from this disease and the chance for children to live up to their potential. So, I urge parents and caregivers countrywide to take every opportunity you get of vaccinating your children against polio.”

Earlier last week, Special Asisstant to the Prime Miniter on Interfaith Harmony Maulana Tahir Ashrafi also participated in a special ceremony to administer drops to children in Lahore.

In his address, Maulana Tahir Ashrafi said that the Government of Pakistan was committed to eradicating poliovirus from Pakistan by the end of 2024.

“Polio will be eliminated if every child is vaccinated in every campaign,” he said. “We must remain united and not believe in rumors. Polio workers come to your door with the vaccine to protect your child from paralysis. Please do welcome them and get children vaccinated,” he said.

Maulana Ashrafi’s pledge comes at the heels of the successful National Ulema Conference for Polio Eradication which was held on December 28 during which over 100 eminent religious leaders from across the country pledged support to polio eradication in Pakistan.

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, except for the two endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

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