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New polio vaccine introduced

By Akhtar M.Nikzad-KABUL: In bid to eradicate polio, the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) on Wednesday introduced new Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV). The vaccine was added into schedule of routine vaccinations program for all newborns.

Speaking to reporters, the Minister of Public Health Ferozuddin Feroz said that they will exert their utmost efforts to strengthen routine immunization and make Afghanistan polio-free.

He urged families to vaccinate their children against the viral disease. “By regularly vaccinating your children you can help us in making Afghanistan polio-free,” Feroz told families.

Akhil Iyer, UNICEF Representative in Afghanistan, said that provision of the IPV vaccine is a key step to protect children from polio, and this should be supported by an ongoing effort to make parents of children aware of the importance of IPV and all other vaccines.

He said that UNICEF remains committed to ensure that all children in Afghanistan receive life-saving vaccinations on time.

WHO Country Representative, Richard Peeperkorn, said that introduction of IPV is an important step towards eradication of polio and protection of the children’s health in Afghanistan.

“IPV is an extremely safe vaccine, whether used alone or in combination with other vaccines. The use of routine immunization as the primary way to deliver IPV is critical to help sustain gains made by eradication efforts and protect children against lifelong polio paralysis around the country.” He mentioned.

Chief Executive Officer of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Seth Berkley said that polio remains a threat as long as there are cases anywhere in the world. “By supporting IPV and helping countries strengthen their routine immunization systems, Gavi is contributing to the tremendous partnership that aims to rid the world of this disease once and for all,” Berkley added.

The new polio vaccine supported by financial cooperation of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and in collaboration with World Health Organization and UNICEF. The vaccine is now available free of charge in all private pharmacies and healthcare centers.

The universal introduction of IPV is part of the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018. It contributes to the eradication of polio and secures the gains made against the disease through stronger immunization systems, so that all children in all countries have access to vaccines.

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