Pakistan to resume polio campaign

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan announced yesterday it would resume vaccinations against polio next week, months after the drive against this crippling children’s disease was halted because the COVID-19 pandemic had overwhelmed the country.

The anti-polio campaign would last three days, from next Monday, with the plan to have about 800,000 children vaccinated, the officials said. Police departments have received requests to ensure the safety of the polio workers. Rana Mohammad Safdar, who oversees anti-polio operations in the country, said polio workers would adhere to social distancing regulations while carrying out their duty.

The announcement comes after Pakistan’s powerful army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, told Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates last month that despite the challenge of COVID-19, the government planned to restart polio vaccinations across the country. Bajwa gave no date at the time.