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Polio vaccination campaigns to start in Afghanistan

Polio Vaccination Campaigns Resume in Afghanistan

KABUL – Polio immunization campaigns have resumed in Afghanistan and Pakistan, months after COVID-19 left 50 million children without their polio vaccine, United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said on Tuesday.
In Afghanistan, polio immunization programmes restarted in three provinces in July, while a second campaign covering almost half of the country will start this month, UNICEF said in a statement.
In Pakistan, an initial round of vaccinations took place at the end of July, covering about 780,000 children, while a nationwide vaccination campaign is slated to start later this month, the statement said.
“These life-saving vaccinations are critical if children are to avoid yet another health emergency,” said Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for South Asia. “As the world has come to see only too well, viruses know no borders and no child is safe from polio until every child is safe.”
Polio is a highly-infectious, crippling and sometimes fatal disease that can be avoided with a vaccine. Children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable.
According to official figures, 34 polio cases have been reported in 2020 thus far in Afghanistan.
Child vaccination drives, including polio campaigns, were halted in both Afghanistan and Pakistan in March 2020 to avoid the risk of COVID-19 transmission to children, caregivers and vaccinators themselves.
While polio vaccination campaigns have resumed, UNICEF said that it is concerned that up to 1 million children in Afghanistan could miss out as door-to-door vaccinations are not possible in some areas and parents will have to make their way to health clinics to have their child vaccinated.
(Sahar News)

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