LAHORE: A special anti-polio drive in 12 “highly sensitive” districts of Punjab will commence from November 12 (Monday), as part of which more than seven million children will be administrated polio vaccine.
The districts include Lahore, Sheikhupura, Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rajanpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Layyah, Faisalabad, Rawalpindi and Attock.
Preparations for the drive were finalised during a meeting held here on Saturday under the chair of Punjab Health Minister Dr Yasmin Rashid. The meeting was told that more than 18,000 polio eradication teams of the Health Department will run a door-to-door campaign.
“It is a matter of great concern for all stakeholders that environmental samples from Lahore, DG Khan and Rawalpindi have tested positive for poliovirus,” Dr Yasmin Rashid said while speaking on the occasion.
She urged parents not to miss the opportunity to get their children vaccinated during the five-day campaign, especially those who had recently travelled from polio-affected areas.
“Multiple vaccinations are required to fully protect a child from poliovirus. Parents who do not ensure vaccination of their children, risk the health and lives of not only their own kids but also of others,” she added.
Punjab’s Emergency Operation Centre Coordinator Dr Munir Ahmed emphasised the need for all children to be immunised during every round of the campaign.
He urged the parents to call the emergency helpline (0800-99000) for any suggestions or complaints and reiterated his resolve to interrupt virus transmission in the current low season. Munir also assured that the polio vaccine is safe, efficacious and approved by the government’s drug regulatory authorities.
He said that as long as the virus was being detected anywhere in the country, no child was safe from its menace.
It is worth mentioning here that Punjab made it through 2016 without even a single polio case surfacing; however, a four-month-old infant from Lodhran was tested positive for the same in 2017.
Owing to the government’s efforts – frequent vaccination drives – for the eradication of polio, no cases of the virus have yet been reported within the ongoing year.