Government launches new polio vaccine, aims for 2016 wipeout

ISLAMABAD: Govt on Thursday formally launched an injectable polio vaccine, an important step to accelerate its polio eradication campaign as the authorities vowed to wipe out the disease by 2016.

More than four million children will benefit from the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which will be incorporated into the country’s routine immunisation schedule and given to children alongside other jabs.

Pakistan is one of three countries in the world where polio remains endemic. Nigeria, which recently marked one year without a case of wild polio, introduced IPV earlier this year and Afghanistan is due to begin using it in the coming weeks.

Pakistan has made substantial progress in reducing the crippling childhood disease, with only 29 cases reported so far this year, compared with 115 in the same period in 2014.