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Zim embarks on mass polio vaccination campaign

Harare, (New Ziana) – Zimbabwe will from Tuesday start a four-day mass vaccination against polio using the novel oral vaccine amid increasing calls for parents to ensure that all children under 10 years are inoculated to prevent a fully blown outbreak.
Zimbabwe last reported a case of indigenous wild polio virus (WPV) in 1986 and had been certified polio free in 2005.

Incident manager for the national polio response activities in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Colline Chigodo told journalists on Monday that the rest of the country would begin vaccinating children under 10 years on Tuesday for the rest of Zimbabwe, and from 24 February for Harare alone.

The next round of polio vaccination is expected to start mid-March.

“Now the virus is circulating in our communities hence the need for the country to respond with the vaccine which is called novel oral polio vaccine. As a country we are going to have a campaign scheduled this week as from tomorrow (Tuesday) up to Thursday countrywide, with the exception of Harare City because vaccination for cholera is ongoing for Harare City and we don’t want to co-administer both antigens at the same time because we want to monitor the vaccine after it has been given to children.

So Harare is going to vaccinate next week from the 26th to the 29th of February,” she said.

Chigodo said a second round of polio vaccination would be conducted three weeks later.

“We are going to have a second round, three weeks after this one, whereby all other provinces will vaccinate from 19 to 22 March and then Harare City will follow after that for four days,” she said.

She expressed confidence that just like previous campaigns, all children would be vaccinated against polio.

“The previous campaigns were very successful, the last one was over 100 percent, the country did very well in the last round. We are giving the vaccine against the polio variant type 2.

“With the vaccination objectors in Manicaland, there is continuous engagement with the government through the Ministry of Health so that they allow their communities to be vaccinated. As we speak, there is strong engagement with the traditional leaders so that they can encourage and clear the people for vaccination. Every child below 10 years should be vaccinated against this polio variant,” said Chigodo.

The last mass vaccination against polio was in 2023.

Zimbabwe already has a total of 10 517 500 doses of the vaccines for the two rounds of mass polio vaccinations.

New Ziana

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