Afghanistan launches nationwide polio vaccination campaign

AFGHANISTAN launched a large-scale polio vaccination campaign on Monday aimed at protecting 9.4 million children under the age of 5.

The country’s Health Ministry said the campaign would cover 31 of the country’s 34 provinces and last four days.

The vaccination was postponed in the remaining three provinces due to extremely cold weather, ministry spokesman Sharafat Zaman told journalists.

“Fortunately, we do not have any positive cases this year,’’ the spokesman added.

Last year, two cases of the wild type of poliovirus were detected in Afghanistan.

Vaccination campaigns in Afghanistan and Pakistan often encounter difficulties due to conspiracy theories that the polio vaccination caused infertility or that the vaccinators are being used as spies.

In many incidents, polio vaccinators have been attacked by extremists.

Before seizing power over the entire country in August 2021, the Taliban had banned door-to-door vaccinations in the areas they controlled.

The UN successfully negotiated with the Taliban to resume the vaccination programme to tackle the infectious disease that can cause paralysis and death in children. (NAN)