ISLAMABAD   -   National Emergency Operations Centre on Monday launched a special anti-polio campaign to vaccinate above 10 million children in several districts including the twin cities.

The 3-day special anti-polio drive will target 10.25 million children up to the age of five years in different regions including Islamabad/Rawalpindi, Bannu, Lahore, Quetta and others.

Meanwhile, on the launching day of the special anti-polio campaign, another polio case was reported from Bannu which took the toll of overall cases in country to 24.

Officials said that fresh polio case was reported as result of parental refusal from vaccinating the child. The number of confirmed polio cases has reached to 08, leading all other cities in the country.

Earlier this month, 23rd polio case was reported from Shangla where the virus was confirmed in 18 months old child.

A statement issued by NEOC said that polio vaccination campaign will start in core reservoirs on June 17 to vaccinate children up to five years.

During this special campaign, thousands of frontline workers will go door to door to ensure more than 10.25 million children receive two drops of the vaccine which will protect them against the poliovirus, it said.

The statement added that since in 2019, 23 cases of wild poliovirus have been reported in the country including 7 from district Bannu, one from district Hangu, one from D.I. Khan and one from district Shangla in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, 3 cases from Mir Ali, Two cases from Miran Shah, one from Khyber and one from Bajaur of tribal districts of KP, two from Karachi and one from Larkana in Sindh and 3 cases from Lahore in Punjab. 

It also said that despite the significant achievements of program, the cunning poliovirus is still surviving and find a way for its survival, therefore special immunization campaign planned in the entire core reservoir to kill the wild polio virus forever.

PM’s Focal Person on Polio Babar Bin Atta said that Bannu division had been declared highly sensitive after reporting of 50% polio cases of the total polio cases in the country, therefore it is utmost important to vaccinate each child under five years in each anti-polio campaign.

He said, “Considering the situation, the Bannu division is the top priority”.

He further said, “Parents are requested to avoid fake propaganda against polio vaccine and vaccinate their children to protect them for polio virus”.

Babar Bin Atta also said that the state of poliovirus outbreak in Bannu Division is worrisome.

He added that community resistance that includes some of our own staff is what needs to be tackled. He said that he had written to Chief Minister KP with in-depth outbreak investigation and recommendation report on how to interrupt.

The government of Pakistan is committed and strives all out to hit the virus hard through this special immunization campaign.

This is top priority to focus on reaching still missed children in core reservoir through continued improvement of operations and capacitating frontline polio workers to reach and protect every missed child with the vital polio vaccine.

Statement said vaccination drive aims to protect more than 10.25 million children from polio. Critically important to ensure every child gets two drops of the polio vaccine during the campaign.