Kenya to Conduct Polio Vaccination Drive, Targets 3.4 mn Children

Second phase of polio vaccination campaign to kick off this Saturday. Campaign will run from 17th-21st July 2021. Campaign targets about 3.4 million children in 13 at risk counties.

Kenya on Saturday will launch an ambitious drive for inoculating over 3.4 million children against polio within five days.

The second phase of the vaccination campaign targets 13 ‘risk counties’ according to the Ministry of Health. 

They include Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kiambu, Kilifi, Kitui, Lamu, Machakos, Mandera, Mombasa, Nairobi, Tana River and Wajir counties. 

According to UNICEF, Kenya remains at risk of polio due to low immunisation coverage resulting from Covid-19 interruptions, porous borders with high-risk countries and high population movements. 

“The 13 counties identified as high-risk had not had their three rounds of routine Polio vaccination, as part of their routine childhood immunisations,” UNICEF says.

“The exercise will be conducted through house-to-house visits by vaccination teams, in an exercise that will be conducted in strict conformity with COVID-19 health protocols,” it said.

 2.6 million children were vaccinated against polio in the first phase of the campaign that was conducted between the 22nd to 26th of May 2021. 

According to the World Health Organisation, Poliomyelitis is a highly infectious viral disease that largely affects children under 5 years of age. 

The virus is transmitted by person-to-person spread mainly through the faecal-oral route and multiplies in the intestine, from where it can invade the nervous system and cause paralysis. 

“While polio cases have fallen 99.9 per cent since 1988, polio remains a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) and persistent barriers to reaching every child with polio vaccines and the pandemic have contributed to an increase in polio cases,” WHO says.

In 2020, 1226 cases of all forms of polio were recorded compared to 138 in 2018.