Kenya launches second round of polio immunization


Kenya’s Ministry of Health on Monday launched the second round of polio immunization exercise, targeting three million children across 13 counties.

Mutahi Kagwe, cabinet secretary in the Ministry of Health said in a statement released in Nairobi that the government is continuing to take urgent action to stop polio in its tracks and save children’s lives.

He noted that after a successful first round of the polio vaccination campaign in May, the government is now looking forward to finishing the exercise in round two which ends on Wednesday. The first round of the campaign in May reached 3.2 million children (93 percent) who will now receive their second dose.

Maniza Zaman, UNICEF representative to Kenya said polio is a devastating childhood disease and as long as one child has polio, no child is safe.

Zaman noted that to eradicate polio, all children in all households must be immunized adding that parents and guardians must ensure that children under the age of five are vaccinated.

Kenyan health authorities recently discovered another form of the poliovirus that occurs in under-immunized communities with poor sanitation in Garissa and Mombasa. This virus mutates in the body of a vaccinated child and is then passed on through their feces. This mutated virus can cause paralysis if it infects another child who has not been vaccinated.

Kenya remains at risk of polio due to low immunization coverage resulting from COVID-19 interruptions, porous borders with high-risk countries and high population movements. Routine vaccination has also been disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Enditem

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