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Countrywide Polio Vaccination Campaign Begins, Targeting Over 4.58 Million Children

On Monday, the health ministry reiterated its commitment to ensuring the well-being of children as it launched the second nationwide anti-polio campaign of the year.

In response to ongoing concerns about the persistent threat of the poliovirus, over 4.58 million children are slated to receive crucial vaccinations during the campaign, spanning from February 26 to March 9.

The primary objective of the initiative is to vaccinate children under the age of five nationwide, accompanied by the administration of additional doses of vitamin A to enhance their immunity.

Iftikhar Ali Shalwani, Federal Secretary Health, emphasized the gravity of polio, highlighting its potential to cause lifelong disabilities in children. He expressed concern about prevailing misconceptions and misinformation surrounding the vaccine, hindering some parents from ensuring their children receive essential immunization.

“The government of Pakistan remains resolute in its commitment to polio eradication, achieving significant progress in this endeavor,” declared Federal Secretary Health Iftikhar Ali Shalwani. “However, the collective responsibility lies not only with decision-makers but also with parents to prioritize their children’s health.”

Appealing to parents, Secretary Shalwani called for cooperation with polio teams visiting households, stressing the importance of recognizing the risks posed by the poliovirus and ensuring children receive the necessary vaccination.

This campaign follows the identification of the poliovirus in sewage samples from 20 districts in January, underscoring the ongoing threat. Dr. Shahzad Baig, Coordinator of the National Emergency Operations Center, reiterated the program’s dedication to reaching all children with vaccination and health services, especially those historically underserved.

“Our primary focus is the well-being of every child, and we are committed to leaving no stone unturned in our efforts to eradicate this disease,” affirmed Dr. Shahzad Baig. “Given the recent detection of the poliovirus in environmental samples, it is imperative that we remain vigilant and ensure all children are protected.”

As the campaign kicked off, Dr. Baig urged parents to prioritize their children’s safety, emphasizing the indiscriminate nature of the poliovirus. He implored parents to seize every opportunity to ensure their children receive the mandatory polio vaccine to safeguard against potential harm.

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