Four-day polio vaccination campaign begins in Afghanistan

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KABUL, Afghanistan — Afghanistan’s second nationwide polio vaccination campaign of 2024 commenced on Monday, aiming to immunize children against the crippling disease.

Over the course of the four-day campaign, which runs until June 6, more than 11.2 million children under the age of five will receive polio vaccines, according to Taliban-run public health ministry.

“The Ministry of Public Health is committed to eradicating the wild poliovirus with the cooperation of its partners in Afghanistan,” said Noor Jalal Jalali, the newly-appointed Taliban minister of public health. “Our goal is to ensure that every child is vaccinated and safeguarded against this preventable disease.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) reported in March that Afghanistan had gone five consecutive months without any new cases of wild poliovirus. However, health officials remain vigilant, recognizing the need for continuous vaccination campaigns to prevent any resurgence of the virus.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two countries in the world where wild poliovirus transmission has not been interrupted. This campaign is part of a broader regional effort to eliminate the virus and ensure that future generations are free from polio.