Polio vaccination campaigns have resumed in Afghanistan and Pakistan after interruptions due to the coronavirus pandemic, which, as the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has recalled, left around 50 million children without the expected protection in the only two countries in the world where this disease is still endemic.
A first phase began in July in three provinces of Afghanistan, where a second campaign will take place in August that will encompass almost half of the country. In Pakistan, around 780,000 children were reached in a first round at the end of July, a step before a national phase this month as well.
Campaigns in both countries were halted in March, leading to an increase in cases: 34 were reported in Afghanistan and 63 in Pakistan, some in areas already considered free of this particularly dangerous disease. under five years old.
UNICEF Director for South Asia, Jean Gough, recalled that “these vaccines save lives and are essential for children to avoid another health emergency”. “As the world has seen, viruses know no borders and no child will be protected from polio until everyone is safe,” he warned in a statement.