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LAHORE: With an objective to prevent polio virus transmission in major cities, Punjab is all set to hold the second National Immunization Days (NIDs) of 2024 from Today all over the province.

In Lahore, Rawalpindi and Faisalabad, the campaign will continue for seven days. While in other districts the campaign will last five days. Over 200,000 polio workers and supervisors will participate in the drive to immunize 22.50 million children under the age of five against polio. This includes: 16605 area in-charges, 3991 union council medical officers, over 84884 mobile polio team members, 4884 fixed team members and over 2664 transit team members.

Punjab Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has deployed experts from all areas to facilitate implementation of the polio campaign in priority areas.

“Multiple doses of polio drops offer the best protection against the virus. Therefore, every single child needs to be vaccinated to achieve population immunity and prevent virus circulation in the national immunization drive”, reiterated the Emergency Operations Centre Coordinator and head of the polio program in Punjab Khizer Afzaal in a statement issued on Sunday.

The coordinator urged parents to welcome polio teams whenever they come to knock at their doorsteps and highlighted the need to reassure local communities that immunization was the safest and most effective means of safeguarding children against this virus. Amid countrywide polio virus circulation, Punjab has not reported any polio case since October 2020. However, three environmental samples, one each from Lahore, Rawalpindi and DG Khan, have tested positive this year so far. Despite the positive samples, overall positivity ratio continues to decline on year-to-year basis, said the EOC coordinator.

“In 2023, positivity rate of polio environmental samples stood at 3 per cent which is one per cent lower as compared 2022 when positivity ratio stood at 4 per cent. After successful implementation of quality polio campaigns, virus from all environmental sites was turned negative. With the February NIDs, programme will ensure that all samples are turned negative again, and children are protected against the polio virus”, underlined the EOC coordinator.

The Punjab EOC head called the movement of population between core reservoir and Punjab as one of the major causes of virus importation in Punjab. Therefore, he said, Punjab was taking concrete steps to improve coverage of high-risk mobile population at transit points.

“Parents transiting through the transit vaccination points, which will be functional during the campaign, need to immunize their children to prevent virus re-infection, urged Afzaal.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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