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Afghanistan : 6.1 Million Children in the High Risk Areas of the Country Need to Receive Their Second Dose of Polio Vaccine in Less Than Two Weeks.

Tomorrow will mark the first day in a polio vaccination campaign that will be carried out in provinces of Afghanistan that are deemed to be at particularly high risk for children. About 6.1 children in 23 provinces will be vaccinated. The timing of the campaign, which follows a round that ended two weeks ago, is meant to use this low transmission season to build up the immunity of children at risk. Polio vaccine is the only protection against polio, a disease that paralyses children for which there is no cure.

In recent months the virus was isolated from the environment in Southern and Eastern Afghanistan. The presence of virus in the environment, coupled with high population movement between different regions of the country and with Pakistan, makes every child at higher risk of Polio. In order to quickly build up immunity of the children and guard against the virus in environment, every child of less than 5 years of age should take at least two quick doses in the short interval. Therefore, every child must be vaccinated in this round irrespective of their previous vaccination status. Children who missed the previous round and are vaccinated in this round, should get their second dose in the nearest health facility after one week.

Polio vaccine is designed in way to be administered multiple times to provide sufficient protection against wild polio virus.The scope and interval of every round of campaign is designed by our dedicated experts which is entirely based on the need of the children in a particular area; therefore, all children less than 5 years of age must be vaccinated in every round of campaign, and a single missed opportunity can put the child in risk of contracting polio, said Minister of Public Heath, Dr Ferozuddin Feroz. The vaccine that we use is the best in the world, the same vaccine used by every other country. During the campaign trained polio workers will go from house to house in their communities to vaccinate children. On Friday, polio teams will re-visit households where children were missed the first time the vaccinators visited to ensure that all children are vaccinated and protected. Polio vaccines have also been strongly endorsed by prominent international and local Islamic scholars. So far in 2018 Afghanistan has already seen three cases of polio, including one in Nangarhar and two in Kandahar province. The campaign beginning today is the second of about 9 national and sub-national vaccination campaigns that will occur throughout 2018. The goal of these efforts is to completely stop polio in Afghanistan this year.

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Publication:Mena Report
Geographic Code:9AFGH
Date:Feb 13, 2018
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