The Polio National Immunization Day, which is also popularly known as 'Polio Ravivar', is being observed on Sunday, January 31 across the country.
President Ram Nath Kovind launched the pulse polio programme for 2021 by administering polio drops to children below five years of age at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
As the nationwide anti-Covid vaccination drive was launched on January 16, polio vaccination programme was postponed to January 31 from January 17 even in the southern state. The three-day polio vaccination drive will continue till 2 February. The vaccination programme for the eradication of polio is organised twice a year.
Around 17 crore children of less than 5 years of age will be given polio drops as part of the drive of Government of India to sustain polio-free status of the country. The countrywide drive will be supported by about 24 lakh volunteers, 1.5 lakh supervisors and many Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), WHO, UNICEF, Rotary etc, it said.
Healthcare workers will be visiting as many as 2 crore households to ensure that no child is left without the protection of the polio vaccine, the statement said. Health minister Harsh Vardhan also attended the event. He highlighted the mitigation measures and the efforts in strengthening routine immunization by the government.
Karnataka is set to give polio vaccine to over 64 lakh children
Amid the Covid pandemic, Karnataka is set to give polio vaccine to over 64 lakh children across the state on Sunday, said Health Minister K. Sudhakar.
"In the polio vaccination drive on Sunday, 64,07,930 children in the 0-5 age group will be given the medicine through oral drops. All parents should immunize their children," said Sudhakar in a statement here. Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa will flag off the polio drive at his home-office in the city centre on Sunday.
"Even if children were vaccinated earlier, they have to be vaccinated again. There will not be any side-effect from it for the kids. The country has been polio-free with no case of the infection over the last 10-11 years," said Sudhakar, a medical doctor by profession.
The state health department has over 85-lakh doses of the polio vaccine and 1.1-lakh vaccinators. "The health department has formed 6,645 supervisor teams, 904 mobile teams and set up 32,908 booths across the state to administer polio drops to kids," said the minister.
Meanwhile, state Education Minister S. Suresh Kumar has urged the Centre to give the anti-Covid vaccine to teachers in the next round of its drive, as they have been frontline workers in containing the pandemic through fieldwork.
"As thousands of teachers played a key role in containing the virus spread, they should be given the vaccine on priority in recognition of their service over the last nine months," Kumar said in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan.
The teachers were deputed for door-to-door data collection, stressing on the importance of social distancing and assisting healthcare warriors for many allied activities across the state.