3 million children targeted in polio vaccination in Kenya

The Kenya government has launched polio vaccination campaign that targets over 3 million children in 13 high-risk counties.

The week-long vaccination started on Saturday and it will be held in in Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kitui, Lamu, Machakos, Mandera, Naiorbi, Tana River and Wajir counties.

UNICEF, Kenya’s Chief of Health Yaron Wolman said his organization is procuring the vaccines and will help the government to deliver door-to-door immunisation in adherence to COVID-19 mitigation measures.

He stated that as long as one child tests positive for polio, the World Health Organisation considers 200,000 children to be at risk of contracting the disease.

“We have known for a long time that Kenya and the surrounding region remain at risk due to low immunization coverage, porous borders with high-risk countries and high population movement,” he said.

The latest polio campaign, experts said, was necessitated by the mutated virus that was found in sewage in Garissa and Mombasa.

The country’s health ministry in a statement said, concerted efforts by the government and partners over the years have brought the country closer to being polio-free.

The ministry said, although WHO had certified Kenya polio-free in 2020, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and weaknesses in routine immunization in neighboring countries have led to a resurgence of polio outbreaks.

Kenya has intensified surveillance across all regions with more emphasis on frontier counties located along the Kenya-Somalia and Kenya-Ethiopia common borders.

(With input from agencies)

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