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Polio vaccination kicks off to cover 8.5m children

AT News Report

KABUL: A five day extended sub-national immunization campaign for polio eradication kicked off on Monday, which will target over 8.5 million children under five years of age in 324 districts across the country. The campaign is launched in most of the places where limited children were reached earlier in the year.

“We are concerned that following the long pause in polio vaccination in parts of the country, more children have become vulnerable to poliovirus, therefore it is of paramount importance that we vaccinate those who have been missing out,” says Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz, Minister of Public Health said.

He said; “when vaccinators come knocking on your door, please let them in and protect your children. In areas where we have set up campaign sites at local health facilities, we call on every parent in the country to bring your children in and vaccinate them.” The polio campaign will last from 14 October to 18 October.

Polio is incurable and can paralyses children for life. The only way to prevent polio is to vaccinate all children with two drops of polio vaccine, every time it is offered, until they are five years of age. Children are protected more with every additional dose of vaccination. Repeated vaccines help to build strong immunity of the child and the whole community.

The polio vaccine is safe and effective and has no side effects. It has been strongly endorsed by prominent local and international Islamic scholars. It is critical to vaccinate all children under five across the country to stop the virus, including all sick children and newborns, whose immunity is weak against this disease.

In 2019, till now, 16 children are paralyzed by the poliovirus, 15 of which are from the southern region (8 from Uruzgan, 5 from Helmand and 2 from Kandahar province). One case was reported from Kunar province of East region.

The Ministry of Public Health has called on the parents and caregivers to ensure no child misses the vaccine, as this is the only protection from the polio virus.

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