Pakistan to conduct week-long polio vaccination drive in Sindh, KP from Apr. 29

A health worker administers polio drops to a child during a door-to-door vaccination campaign in Karachi on October 2, 2023. (AFP/File)
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  • Campaign to begin in 25 districts of Sindh, 13 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, says state media 
  • Eight million children in Sindh, 2.8 million in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to be vaccinated during campaign

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistani government will conduct a week-long polio immunization program in the country’s northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and southern Sindh provinces from Apr. 29, the state-run Radio Pakistan reported on Sunday. 

Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world where the poliovirus, which causes paralysis and can be a life-threatening disease, is endemic.

“A week-long National Immunization Campaign will begin in twenty-five districts of Sindh and thirteen districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa from tomorrow,” Radio Pakistan said in a report. 

Chief Minister Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah chaired a meeting of the Provincial Task Force for Eradication of Polio in Karachi on Saturday. Shah directed all district administrations to cooperate with the polio teams and make the drive successful, the report said. 

“The meeting was informed that around eight million children up to the age of five years would be administered anti-polio vaccines during the campaign,” the report said. 

Meanwhile, over 2.8 million children will be administered anti-polio drops during the drive, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Emergency Operation Center said. 

“Twenty-one thousand teams have been constituted for this purpose,” the report added. 

Pakistan’s efforts to contain polio have often been met with opposition, especially in the country’s northwestern KP province, where militants have carried out attacks against vaccinators and the security teams guarding them. 

Many believe in the conspiracy theory that polio vaccines are part of a plot by Western outsiders to sterilize Pakistan’s population.

Pakistani masses’ doubts regarding polio campaigns were exacerbated in 2011 when the US Central Intelligence Agency set up a fake hepatitis vaccination program to gather intelligence on former Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.