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Tanzania rolls out third round of polio vaccines

World Health Organization - United Republic of Tanzania

A third round of polio vaccination for all children under five is underway in Tanzania. In this campaign Tanzania targets to vaccinate 12,386,854 under fives from 1—4 September in all 31 regions and 195 districts of Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar.

The vaccination campaign in Tanzania aims at ensuring prevention of polio to all children after Malawi and Mozambique have respectively reported 1 and 4 Wild Polio virus (WPV1) this year. Detection of WPV1 outside the world’s two remaining endemic countries of Pakistan and Afghanistan is a serious concern and underscores the importance of prioritizing polio immunization activities in countries to prevent future instances of importation.

The response is being coordinated with the help of the partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative — the WHO, UNICEF (the UN Children’s Fund), the service club Rotary International, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Any form of poliovirus anywhere, is a threat to children everywhere. It is critical that the Global Polio eradication strategies are fully resourced and fully implemented everywhere, to ensure a world free of all forms of poliovirus can be achieved. 

Following the outbreak in Malawi and subsequently in Mozambique, vaccination campaigns were necessary in neighboring countries. Tanzania vaccinated a total of 1,130,261 in the first round and  the second round reached 12,131,049  children. Both rounds exceeded their targets.  It is expected that through four rounds of supplemental vaccination, and other activities, such as routine vaccination Tanzania will prevent occurrence of an actual polio case. Tanzania was certified polio free in 2015.

Surveillance strengthening activities are also ongoing to ensure increased sensitivity of the surveillance system and facilitate early detection of any polioviruses that might be.

WHO is supporting MOH to step up the polio fight including carrying out large-scale, effective vaccination campaigns to halt the virus and protect children from its debilitating effects.

Until poliovirus transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries remain at risk of importation of polio, especially vulnerable countries with weak public health and immunization services and travel or trade links to endemic countries.

The case in Malawi imported from Pakistan underscores the importance of that statement. it is critical that we ramp up our efforts to raise awareness for the importance of reaching all children with polio vaccines and continue raising the funds necessary to carry out critical eradication activities to protect vulnerable children and prevent further outbreaks.

Preventing the further spread of WPV into polio-free countries and the ensuing outbreaks is therefore a top priority in eradicating polio.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of World Health Organization – United Republic of Tanzania.

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