New rounds of polio immunization start in Tajikistan today

WHO

About 1.1 children under the age of 5 will be vaccinated against polio during the new round of National Immunization Days (NIDs) that start throughout Tajikistan today. This round will continue until 22 April and will be followed by another round of immunization for the same age group on 23-27 May.

The major purpose of the two new rounds of polio immunization is to maximize children’s protection against the disease and ensure that the transmission of the wild polio virus in Tajikistan has ended. The NIDs are organized by the Ministry of Health with the support of UNICEF and WHO/Europe following the outbreak of polio in Tajikistan last year. With 458 laboratory confirmed polio cases registered in 2010, Tajikistan became home to the world’s largest polio outbreak of the year.

“We are calling for the full support of all sectors of society to ensure that every child under five years of age receives the polio vaccine during this immunization campaign”, noted Dr Pavel Ursu, WHO Representative/Head of WHO Country office in the Republic of Tajikistan. “As children under 5 are still the group most at risk, it is essential to ensure that they are fully covered with additional polio vaccination. “I would like to call on all parents and caregivers in the country to make sure that their children are vaccinated against polio during the both rounds,” said Hongwei Gao, UNICEF Country Representative in Tajikistan. “Together we need to make sure that every child in the country irrespective of where they live receives the life-saving vaccine.”

During the two new rounds, every boy and girl, irrespective of their previous immunization status, will receive two drops of the life-saving oral polio vaccine. The vaccine will boost their immunity against three types of the polio virus that exist in neighbouring countries, such as Afghanistan. The vaccine is safe and recommended by WHO. Some 2.5 million doses of the life-saving vaccine have been already delivered to Tajikistan by UNICEF with the support of partners representing Global Polio Eradication Initiative.  

During the National Immunization Days against polio on 18-22 April and 23-27 May, all children under 5 will be vaccinated free of charge at immunization points located in hospitals, local health centres and other immunisation points throughout the country. Children living in remote and hard to reach areas will be immunized by mobile vaccinator teams. Similar polio immunization campaigns will be carried out on the same days in all other Central Asian countries as well as in Azerbaijan and southern regions of the Russian Federation.

For more information, please contact:

World Health Organization in Tajikistan:
Ms Tahmina Alimamedova, Communication Assistant
Tel.: +992 (907) 78 01 19
Email: tahmina.who@tajnet.tj

UNICEF in Tajikistan:
Mr. Alexander Sodiqov, Communication Officer
Tel.: +992 (918) 31 00 57
Email: asodiqov@unicef.org