Ephantus Maree, Head of the Unit of Vaccines and Immunization Services at the Ministry of Health, told the National Immunization Stakeholders Forum in Nairobi that the Dec. 5-9 exercise is part of the end game strategy to detect and interrupt the polio virus in order to boost the immunity of all children.
“We are targeting 1.5 million children under 1 year of age in an exercise where all counties at risk are conducting the campaigns,” Maree said.
He said over 6,000 immunization facilities will be opened, and appealed to parents and care-givers to receive the polio teams so that children could be vaccinated.
World Health Organization (WHO) Country Representative in Kenya, Custodio Mandlhate, said the polio campaign is part of the Global Polio Endgame Strategic Plan to eradicate the disease from the face of the earth by 2020.
Kenya started polio eradication efforts in 1995 and has made remarkable progress in the campaign endeavors through many rounds of polio drives.
Some faith-based organizations have in the past opposed polio vaccination, questioning the frequency of the campaigns even in the absence of an outbreak.
However, the government has been quick to allay fears that the vaccine is unsafe, explaining that the vaccine has been tested and approved by the WHO and United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), bodies that prioritize health and protection of children. Enditem