5.5 million children set to get polio shots across Afghanistan in latest campaign

Photo: Ministry of Public Health, Afghanistan. File Photo

The first round of this year’s polio vaccination campaign got underway on Monday and will see at least 5.5 million children under the age of five be vaccinated against the disease.

The campaign will be rolled out across all four zones of the country, UNICEF officials said on Sunday.

In Herat province, the campaign will be implemented through 108 centers to cover at least 277,000 children across the province.

“The campaign will take four days and will be conducted in Herat city, Shindand district and parts of Injil district where mostly displaced people are living,” said Abdul Waheed Rahmani, in charge of the polio vaccination campaign in the west zone.

He said the campaign will also cover areas where children were not reached during previous campaigns.

“Polio is a lethal disease. It is contagious and can cause paralysis among children under the age of five years,” said Ahmad Suhrab, a doctor in Herat.

A Taliban official in Herat, Naeem ul-Haq, said they welcome the campaign. He asked the people to cooperate with vaccinators.

Meanwhile, Najmuddin, head of the polio vaccination campaign in Farah, said that at least 200,000 children under the age of five will be vaccinated in Farah province in the west of the country.

In Nimroz province, also in the west, at least 100,000 children will be vaccinated.

Two positive cases of polio were reported in Afghanistan in 2022. In Pakistan, another country with positive polio cases, 20 cases were reported last year.