Over 1.7 million children are being targeted under the Anambra Government immunisation programme to prevent the outbreak of the Circulating Vaccine-derived Poliovirus Type 2 (cVDPV2) in the state.
Dr Vincent Okpala, Commissioner for Health, said in a statement on Wednesday in Awka, that healthcare providers have been trained to ensure the success of the Outbreak Response phase 1.
The vaccination campaign started on Wednesday and would end on Saturday in health facilities offering routine immunisation and at mobile posts in catchment areas in communities.
Okpala said that the outbreak response was targeted at immunising children from age zero to 59 months and children less than two years, irrespective of previous vaccination history.
“The number of target population of children from age zero to 59 months is 1,264,387 while for children less than two years is 505,754.
“Vaccination team will be moving from house to house, Churches, Mosques, schools, markets, motor Parks, Village squares and wherever children are found to administer Oral Polio Vaccine.
“Special teams will also stay at strategic and transit points such as markets and motor parks to give Oral Polio Vaccine.
“All vaccines are free and safe. Caregivers should avail themselves of this opportunity and make sure that their children receive novel Oral Polio Vaccine,” he said.
Okpala said that the goal is to interrupt the circulation of vaccine-derived Poliovirus and ensure that all children under five years are vaccinated as the virus spreads from one unvaccinated child to another over a long period.
“So the best way to prevent them and stop them when there is an outbreak is to vaccinate children. The Polio vaccine protects children whether the kind of polio is Wild Poliovirus or Vaccine derived Poliovirus.
“Also, note that if your child or any child in your community under 15 years of age who suddenly develop weakness of one or two legs or arms, report immediately to the nearest health centre or immunization team.
“The only prevention of Polio is by vaccination, therefore, Anambra state Primary Health Care Development Agency, in collaboration with partner Agencies, will ensure the success of this by Outbreak Response 1,” he said.
Dr Faisal Shuaib, Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency, announced on July 5, that the country is witnessing a cVDPV2 outbreak in Abia, Bayelsa, Borno, Delta, FCT, Jigawa, Kano, Kebbi, Lagos, Niger, Rivers, Sokoto, Yobe and Zamfara states. (NAN)