Zim to embark on mass polio vaccination campaign

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Harare (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe will urgently join a synchronised polio vaccination campaign being conducted by four other Sothern Africa countries to halt the spread of the virus, Cabinet said on Tuesday.

Early this month, Mozambique kicked off the third round of vaccination against wild poliovirus type 1, in a further drive to protect all under 5 children and halt the debilitating virus from spreading. Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia were also embarking on the third phase of mass vaccination campaigns.

Around 36 million vaccine doses have been administered by the four countries in the first two rounds, after the mass vaccination campaigns were launched following an outbreak in Malawi – the country’s first wild poliovirus cases in 30 years.

In a post Cabinet briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said new cases had been reported in Mozambique’s Tete province this past week, necessitating Zimbabwe’s immediate joining of the mass vaccination campaign.

“The southern African region is currently experiencing a polio outbreak. During the week under review three polio cases were reported in Tete province Mozambique.

“Although no polio cases have been reported in Zimbabwe, four of our districts in Mashonaland East province share a border with Tete province thus Zimbabwe will urgently join a synchronised vaccination campaign in the region which include the following countries, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique and this is all being done to contain the outbreak,” she said.

The cases detected in the two countries do not alter Africa’s certification as free of wild poliovirus – an achievement declared in 2020 – because the virus strain is not indigenous.

Laboratory analysis linked the strains detected in Malawi and Mozambique to a strain circulating in Pakistan’s Sindh Province in 2019.
New Ziana

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