Over 62,000 parents declined to vaccinate their children during the three-phase statewide polio vaccination campaign held in January, as per reports.
Sindh had the most refusals, with 37,008 parents refusing to give their children the vaccination, followed by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) with 20,305 denials, Islamabad with 141, Balochistan with 4,902, and Punjab with 36.
Officials in Karachi East recorded a 2.4 percent rejection rate, while Korangi district recorded 1.2 percent, Karachi South recorded 1.1 percent, Keamari district recorded 1.3 percent, Karachi Central recorded 1.7 percent, and Malir district recorded 0.9 percent. 0.2 percent of households in the Hyderabad district declined to have their children vaccinated.
The polio vaccination campaign was initiated in January after sewage samples in Lahore proved positive for wild poliovirus. The National Institute of Health’s national polio lab revealed on January 19 that the first positive sample of 2023 was detected and was genetically related to the poliovirus discovered in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar region in November 2022.
This was the first instance of cross-border transmission in more than a year. On January 27, a second positive sample was revealed, and it was genetically related to a virus prevalent in southern KP.
Although no human polio cases have been documented in Pakistan since September last year, when an epidemic in southern KP disabled 20 children, the virus’s existence has been discovered via active disease surveillance.