Nationwide oral polio drive put off

India has postponed its pulse polio programme, scheduled to be held on January 17. While the Union Health Ministry was yet to announce the postponement of the programme, a circular issued by Kerala government to its health workers said that the plan, to be held over three days from January 17, was put off at the instruction of the Health Ministry.

Ironically, two days before the Kerala government circular, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan was urging the State governments to make the oral polio campaign, which gives polio drops to children below five years, a grand success. In fact, he told the State health ministers during a virtual meeting last week that India cannot afford to allow other health intervention programmes such as polio drive cannot suffer because of impending Covid-19 vaccination roll-out.

The Kerala government statement, however, cited the same reason for putting off the polio drive. The polio programme was postponed because it clashed with the Covid-19 vaccine roll-out which is to commence from January 16.

No decision has been taken yet on when to hold polio vaccine drive next.

(Source: Business Line)

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