Egypt launches nationwide vaccination campaign against Poliovirus targeting 16.7 mln children

Amr Kandil , Sunday 28 Feb 2021

In 2006, UNICEF declared Egypt Polio-free, two years after the last case was detected in the country

Hala Zayed
Egyptian Health Minister Hala Zayed administers a polio vaccine dose to a child, 28 February. courtesy of the Egyptian Health Ministry

Egypt has launched on Sunday a four-day, nationwide vaccination campaign against the Poliovirus targeting 16.7 million children under the age of five after Polio cases were detected in some neighbouring countries, Africa and the East Meditteranean.

Minister of Health Hala Zayed said Egypt obtained 38.2 million doses of the oral Sabin vaccine, in cooperation with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, to boost children's immunity against the Poliovirus in order to keep the country Polio-free.

Polio cases have been detected in recent months in several countries including South Sudan, Sudan, Liberia and Cameroon.

In 2006, UNICEF declared Egypt Polio-free, two years after the last case was detected in the country.

The national campaign, which will last until 3 March, is targeting 100 percent of the Egyptian and non-Egyptian children under the age of five in the country, Zayed said.

The vaccine will be administered by medical teams at more than 5,400 health centres nationwide as well as teams stationed at large squares, train and metro stations, around mosques and churches, in sporting clubs, markets, and at bus stops and via vehicles, Zayed noted.

In villages, medical teams will visit homes to ensure the children targeted in the campaign are vaccinated.

Children can take a first dose of the Sabin vaccine in the next four days from 8am to 5pm, and a second one a month later, Zayed added.

As many as 90,000 medical personnel are taking part in the campaign.

The ministry has also prepared 2,000 ambulances and 800 other vehicles to reach remote areas in the country.

Poliomyelitis (Polio for short) usually infects children under the age of five and spreads through person-to-person contact. Its symptoms often turn from fever, vomiting and pain in the limbs to untreatable paralysis or can cause death in late stages.

According to UNICEF, Egypt managed - due to its vaccination campaigns - to eradicate the life-threatening disease that has infected millions of children in the country and the world for centuries.

The first vaccine against the ancient disease was discovered in 1955.

Hala Zayed

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