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New anti-polio drive targets children under five

By Mohammad Ghazal - Oct 26,2014 - Last updated at Oct 26,2014

AMMAN — The Ministry of Health on Sunday urged Jordanians and residents of the Kingdom to immunise their children aged five years and younger against polio as part of a nationwide campaign.

The new immunisation campaign, which started Sunday and continues through Thursday, targets some 950,000 children across Jordan — including those in refugee camps, host communities and settlements — who will receive two drops of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV), said Mohammad Abdullat, director of the Health Ministry’s communicable diseases directorate.

“This is the fourth round of the polio immunisation campaign and we urge all families residing in Jordan to take their children to get the vaccine,” he told The Jordan Times over the phone.

Parents can take their children to get the drops at any of the healthcare centres affiliated with the ministry, while mobile teams from the ministry will reach out to residents of remote areas, Abdullat added. “The vaccine is free for all.”

“The campaign coincides with several drives in neighbouring countries to protect children from this disease and to ensure that Jordan continues to be free from polio,” Abdullat said.

The initiative is supported by UNICEF, the World Health Organisation and UNHCR, as well as several local and international agencies and NGOs.

The Health Ministry will start a fifth vaccination campaign against polio in late November, Abdullat noted.

Polio resurfaced in Syria last October after more than 14 years; however, Jordan and neighbouring countries remain polio free to date. 

In 2013, over 35 cases of polio were reported in Syria.  

The virus is active in 10 countries, primarily among the most disadvantaged, remote and conflict-affected populations, with only three countries having endemic polio transmission, namely Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, according to UNICEF. 

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