Polio immunisation suspended amid coronavirus pandemic

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Apr 04, 2020, 12.42 AM(IST)

File photo: Polio vaccine drops are administered to a child at a civil dispensary in Peshawar, Pakistan. Photograph:( Reuters )

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The global effort to wipe out polio began in 1988 and was intended to eliminate the disease by 2000.

In the wake of coronavirus pandemic, health officials are forced to suspend their polio immunisation efforts across the world.

All polio activities including national vaccination campaigns and house-to-house surveillance "should be suspended to avoid placing communities and frontline workers at unnecessary risk," the World Health Organisation and its partners decided on Thursday.

The announcement came after a meeting last week of the Polio Oversight Board, an expert body coordinated by WHO and partners.

The experts noted that while halting efforts to stop polio is necessary given the speed at which COVID-19 is infecting people globally, it will undoubtedly result in the increased spread of the paralytic disease and the numbers of children paralyzed by the virus.

The mass vaccination campaigns which occur as frequently as every month are critical to stopping polio, as eradication requires that more than 95 per cent of children under 5 be immunised.

The global effort to wipe out polio began in 1988 and was intended to eliminate the disease by 2000.

(With inputs from agencies)