Nationwide polio vaccination campaign to kick off Sunday
Child receives polio vaccination drops from a medical volunteer - AFP/Narinder Nanu

CAIRO: A polio vaccination campaign is scheduled to kick off across Egypt Sunday, Youm7 reported Thursday.

The Ministry of Health said in a Thursday statement that the campaign will last for four days, aiming to vaccinate 15, 533, 000 children with their ages ranging from 1to 5 years old.

The campaign will provide door-to-door vaccinations in villages, while mobile medical convoys will be traversing cities, with fixed teams situated near mosques, churches, medical units and metro stations, according to the spokesperson Khaled Megahed.

World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Egypt has been polio-free since 2004, with the last recorded case in Asyut in May 2004.

However, the ministry launches annual national polio vaccination campaigns to raise children’s immunity against this disease, and to take precautionary measures recommended by WHO to prevent cases with acute flaccid paralysis, Megahed said.

In 2014, the leading authority for fatwas in Egypt Dar el-Ifta Institute denounced “misleading fatwas” that prohibited the vaccination; the prestigious religious institute rather stated that vaccination against polio is a “religious duty, and neglecting it is a sin,” during a meeting with the World Islamic Consultative Group for polio eradication in Jeddah.

Beside the annual campaigns, the ministry has launched emergency campaigns in areas where the virus was found in sewage samples, which has occurred in Giza in 2014, and accordingly a one-day vaccination was launched to protect some 463 children in both Cairo and Giza.

In 2014, the annual campaign was meant to vaccinate 14 million children across the nation.

Another emergency polio vaccination programme was launched in 2013, after the strain of the virus, matching one found in southern Pakistan, was found in water samples in Cairo.

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