The Ministry of Public Health of Afghanistan confirmed the third national polio immunization campaign would run from 14 to 17 June 2021. The campaign aims to reach approximately 9.9 million children under the age of 5 across the country with polio vaccines and Albendazole deworming tablets.
The polio program has intensified efforts to eradicate both wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) and circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) outbreaks, which were exacerbated due to disruptions to polio campaigns because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, WPV1 and cVDPV2 outbreaks have been contained in all accessible areas of the country.
However, poliovirus transmission continues in certain areas where bans on house-house vaccination persist, leaving millions of children vulnerable due to the program’s inability to reach them for extended periods of time.
“It is extremely concerning that over 3.3 million children will yet again miss polio vaccination in certain areas of the country,” commented Dr. Wahid Majrooh, the acting Minister of Public Health. “Polio eradication is a collective responsibility. I strongly urge all parties to allow unimpeded access to reach children with critical vaccinations and other essential services.”
Vaccinating every child through multiple doses of the polio vaccine is the only way to stop the poliovirus currently circulating in the country. However, since the beginning of 2021, one WPV1 and 40 cVDPV2 cases have been confirmed in Afghanistan. All of them originate in areas where the campaign has been unable to access children for immunization.
In the USA, the inactivated polio vaccine is most often given in the USA since 2000. It is administered by a shot in the arm or leg, depending on the person’s age, says the U.S. CDC.
The IPOL vaccine is a sterile suspension of three types of poliovirus: Type 1 (Mahoney), Type 2 (MEF-1), and Type 3 (Saukett). It is a highly purified, inactivated poliovirus vaccine with enhanced potency administered intramuscularly or subcutaneously.