Maintaining a polio-free status for 10 years is a huge accomplishment in the history of public health in India
President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind launched the National Polio Immunisation Day for 2021 by administering polio drops to children less than five years old at Rashtrapati Bhawan on 30th January 2021 (yesterday).
Today is the Polio National Immunization Day, also known as ‘’Polio Ravivar”. As per provisional report on day one, close to 89 lakh children (as per provisional data) under five years across the country were given polio drops today. Vaccinations were conducted at close to 7 lakh booths which were staffed with around 12 lakh vaccinators and 1.8 lakh supervisors.
The booth activity will be followed by house-to-house surveillance (mop-up rounds) over the next two to five days to identify and vaccinate children who missed getting vaccinated at the booths. Vaccination teams have also been deployed at bus terminals, railway stations, airports and ferry crossing to vaccinate children in transit to ensure no child misses the life-saving dose.
All measures have been taken to ensure safety during the times of the pandemic by maintaining COVID-19 appropriate practices, such as preventing overcrowding at booths, maintaining physical distance of 2 metres, wearing masks, washing hands and administering polio drops in well ventilated-settings.
Speaking at the function on the eve of the National Immunization Day, the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan said,“Maintaining a polio-free status for 10 years is a huge accomplishment in the history of public health in India.” He also highlighted government efforts and actions to strengthen routine immunization to ensure that no child suffers from a vaccine-preventable disease.
India has been free of polio for a decade, with the last case of wild poliovirus reported on 13th January 2011. The country, however, continues to remain vigilant to prevent re-entry of the poliovirus into the country from neighbouring countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where wild poliovirus continues to cause disease.
India conducts one nationwide NID and two Sub-National Immunization Day (SNIDs) for polio every year to maintain population immunity against wild poliovirus and to sustain its polio free status.