BENGALURU: Although certified polio-free, India remains at risk so long as its neighbouring countries suffer from it. As many as 33 cases of polio were detected in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2018 and a year later, the number rose to 143 — 117 in Pakistan and 26 in Afghanistan.“Owing to proximity with these two countries, India is at risk and additional boosters are recommended for children who are already vaccinated for polio,” said a source.
On January 19, an oral polio vaccination drive will be initiated in all districts of Karnataka for children between ages upto to 5 years. A sum of Rs 4.82 crore has been sanctioned for the purpose.“Polio vaccine will be administered orally at schools, anganwadis, private pediatric clinics, primary healthcare centres, community healthcare centres and district hospitals. The state is targetting 65 lakh children,” said Dr Rajini Nagesh Rao of the health and family welfare department (immunisation).
The state’s Nearby Vaccination Centre, an app launched last year will show five routine vaccination and polio vaccination centres nearest to the user.Transit teams with vaccinators will also be present in places like metro stations, bus stations and railway stations. There will also be vaccination teams at Chinnaswamy stadium owing to an ODI cricket match on the same date. “Even if children are vaccinated, another round of polio vaccine will serve as a booster for their immunity,” the source added.
School vaccination deadline extended
As of January 7, diphtheria vaccination covered 62 percent of the districts and tetanus vaccine 75 per cent under the school vaccination campaign 2019-2020. The department started it in on December 11 and set the end of the month as the deadline. However, it was later extended to January 10, owing to shortage of vaccines.
As much as 66 per cent of the nine high risk districts of Bagalkot, Ballari, Bidar, Chitradurga, Kalaburagi, Koppal, Raichur, Vijayapura and Yadgir have been covered under diphtheria immunisation and 80 percent under tetanus.“Those schools that miss the target of January 10 will resume the drive in January end and will complete it in February,” Dr Rajini added. As of January 7, a total of 38.28 lakh children need to be vaccinated. In high risk districts, children from classes 1 to 10 are vaccinated.