India’s Polio Immunisation Drive Postponed to 31 January
The Union health ministry said on Thursday, 14 January, that the anti-polio drive that covers all children under the age of 5 in India, has been rescheduled and pushed to 31 January from 17 January.
The decision comes in the backdrop of the country launching the world’s largest COVID vaccination drive on 16 January. The ministry said that the postponement of the polio programme is to “ensure that Covid management and vaccination services, as well as non-Covid essential health services, proceed in tandem without adversely impacting each other”.
The President will be launching the Polio National Immunisation Day on 31 January 2021 by administering Polio drops to some children at Rashtrapati Bhawan at 11.45 am.
On March 27, 2014, India, and the World Health Organisation’s South-East Asia region was officially declared polio-free.
Since March 2020, the pandemic has disrupted life-saving immunisation endeavours around the world, putting millions of children at risk of diseases like polio, diphtheria, and measles, IANS reported.
The COVID-19 vaccine drive in India is slated to begin on 16 January. Two vaccine candidates – SII’s ‘Covishield’ and Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’ – were earlier given emergency use approval by India’s top drug regulator.
“Priority will be given to the healthcare workers and the frontline workers, estimated to be around 3 crore, followed by those above 50 years and the under-50 population groups with co-morbidities numbering around 27 crore,” the Centre said.
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