Three-day nationwide Polio Immunisation programme to begin from today with COVID-19 precautions

The nationwide Pulse Polio Immunisation (PPI) campaign will be undertaken today (Sunday, 31 January) covering children up to five years of age, with preventive measures for COVID-19, reports said.

The countrywide immunisation programme was earlier scheduled to start from 17 January, however, it was postponed due to the COVID-19 vaccination drive which started on 16 January.

According to toa report in Hindustan Times, the Pulse Polio immunisation programme was launched in 1995 following the World Health Organization's Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

While Polio has existed for a long time, it first became a major public health issue in the late Victorian times with major epidemics in Europe and the United States, a report in BBC said. The disease causes spinal and respiratory paralysis and can also kill victims. While it remains incurable, vaccines have helped in its nearly total eradication in modern times.

Earlier in the day, President Ram Nath Kovind launched the first round of the Pulse Polio Programme 2021 on Saturday by administering polio drops to some children at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

The Polio drive will adhere to the COVID-19 protocols and guidelines and therefore, there will be mandatory masks, social distancing and hand hygiene during the drive. The government has advised senior citizens to not go to the immunisation camps with children due to the risks involved because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As per a report in Livemint.com, the three-day polio vaccination drive will continue till 2 February. The vaccination programme for the eradication of polio is organised twice a year. Reports suggest that the coronavirus vaccination drive may be put on hold for three days when polio immunisation drive goes on.

According to a report on polioeradication.org, India constituted over 60 percent of all global polio cases as recently as 2009, however, the country was "officially declared polio-free in 2014, along with the rest of the South-East Asia Region".



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