Emergency polio vaccination drive set for Wednesday

The government is set to begin an emergency polio vaccination campaign on Wednesday this week following the detection of a high risk virus.

The five-day oral vaccination campaign will target 2.4million children under the age five years in 12 high risk counties.

The vaccination campaign comes amid worrying statistics that reveal a decline in the number of children being taken for vaccination.

Speaking to the press, Head of Health promotion Dr. Sammy Mahugu, confirmed that there has been a surge in the circulation of a high risk polio virus prompting the Ministry of Health to launch an emergency polio response campaign.

He added that the strategy is meant to prevent infection through immunizing until transmission stops.

The door- to – door vaccination exercise will be conducted in 12 high-risk counties namely Nairobi, Kajiado, Kitui, Machakos, Meru, Isiolo, Tana River, Lamu, Garissa, Wajir and Mandera.

Traces of the polio virus type2  was found in sewage samples collected in Eastleigh in March.

The ministry has warned that the polio virus, can cause paralysis in un-immunized people.

“The upcoming Polio campaigns among these high risk counties is as a result of the isolation of Polio virus within Nairobi’s sewerage system. Important to note is that Polio has no cure, but it can be easily prevented by the vaccine. The Polio vaccine is free, and I appeal to all parents to ensure that their children receive this vaccination” said Health CS Sicily Kariuki.

Kenya has been free of wild poliovirus since 2014.

However, Kenya and the Horn of Africa Region continue to be at high risk of polio transmission due to low immunization coverage compounded by population movement across neighbouring countries currently experiencing polio transmission.

What is polio?

Polio is a highly infectious, debilitating disease which affects children and causes permanent paralysis. Polio is not curable, and can only be prevented by vaccination.

Families and communities must ensure their children are vaccinated both during polio campaigns and through routine immunization.


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