Peshawar, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan on Friday concluded a five-day vaccination campaign against polio in a former stronghold of the Taliban in South Waziristan and elsewhere in the country, amid the surge in cases, officials said.
Vaccination began on Monday, with a goal of about 800 000 children vaccinated. Fortunately, during this campaign, there were no reports of armed attacks on polio teams or police escorting them, said Aimal Riaz Khan, the press Secretary of the emergency center polio in the North-West.
Healthcare professionals involved in the drive also urged parents and families to comply with the rules of conduct social distancing to avoid spikes in cases of the coronavirus.
Pakistan is one of three countries where polio is a severe, life-threatening disease caused by a virus polio is still common. The other two are Afghanistan and Nigeria.
The Taliban and other militants in Pakistan frequently attack polio teams and police escorting them, claiming anti-polio drive is part of an alleged Western plot to sterilize children or collect intelligence.
Pakistan hopes to eradicate polio by 2018, when there were only 12 cases. But last year there was a surge and so far this year, 108 cases were registered.
Khan said that the spike of polio occurred after February, when Pakistan suspended the immunization campaign against polio in the backdrop of increasing cases of infection with coronavirus.
Pakistan reported more than 270,000 infections, including 5,763 deaths from COVID-19, disease, caused by a new virus.
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