Pakistan resumes polio vaccinations after coronavirus hiatus

Al Jazeera 

Quetta, Pakistan - Pakistan is resuming polio vaccination efforts in high-risk districts across the country after the coronavirus pandemic forced a four-month hiatus in one of the only two countries in the world where the debilitating virus remains endemic. Vaccinators will go door-to-door to vaccinate more than 800,000 children under the age of five in the districts of Karachi, Quetta, Faisalabad, Attock and South Waziristan on Monday, the government-run polio eradication campaign said in a statement. This year, at least 59 cases of polio - a neurodegenerative disease that can cause paralysis of the limbs in young children - have been registered in Pakistan, according to official data. The virus, buoyed by parents refusing to give their children the vaccine and incomplete immunisation campaign coverage, resurged in Pakistan last year, with 147 cases across the country, compared with just 12 the year before. This year, the government says it had planned on stepping up countrywide immunisation drives, but was stymied by the coronavirus pandemic, which made going door-to-door to reach more than 35 million children logistically difficult.

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