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Sunday, December 5, 2021

Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo, Tana River, Lamu listed as high risk counties in polio vaccination campaign

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Over 3 million children under the age of five are targeted for vaccination against polio in 13 high-risk counties.

This was revealed by head of Public Health Dr Francis Kuria who said the vaccination will take place between May 22 and 26.

The government has marked 13 counties that include Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Isiolo, Mombasa, Kilifi, Kitui, Machakos, Kajiado, Kiambu, Tana River, Lamu and Nairobi as high risk regions in the campaign.

Kuria said the drive is a rapid intervention to improve population immunity against polio in high-risk regions bordering neighbouring countries for children under five years.

He spoke on Saturday after the launch of the vaccination campaign in Garissa Township.

“The World Health Organization had in 2020 certified the African region polio-free, but the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and weakness in routine immunisation in our neighbouring countries have led to resurgence of polio outbreaks,” Kuria said.

“Three polio cases were detected earlier this year from children and three more cases from sewerage samples. All the three children were new entrants in Garissa county from Somalia.”

 Kuria said the country cannot afford a polio crisis in the middle of Covid-19 pandemic. He said the government will work diligently to ensure all communities have access to polio vaccinations.

“Next month we will have a second phase of the campaign in the same counties from 19th to 23rd. I want to call on everyone to bring their children for vaccination because we do not want to see more people getting paralysed or dying because of polio,” he said.

Garissa Health CEC Roble Nunow said the county is targeting 249,397 children.

“Our officers will go house to house, including in the refugee camps, and we will make sure that they observe the Covid-19 protocols. We will also have a mobile clinic so that we can cover every child in the county,” Nunow said

Unicef’s Chief of Health Yaron Wolman said they are procuring the vaccines on behalf of the government, and together with other partners will work closely to achieve 100 per cent vaccination for all children.

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