ISLAMABAD - Above 1.5 million children missed the polio drops in a recently held sub-national anti-polio drive across the country during novel coronavirus situation, The Nation learnt on Monday.

The documents available with The Nation said that targeted children for immunization in the anti-polio drive were 33,662,764 while the number of children vaccinated during the campaign was 32,072,212.

The drive launched this month during the COVID-19 situation achieved above 95 percent of its target in specified districts of all provinces.

According to the documents, the campaign, launched in 130 districts including AJK from August 13 to 21, achieved 95.3 percent of the set target. The sub-national campaign was conducted for five days in Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta covering above 30 million children.

The documents revealed that 1590,552 children remained deprived of the polio drops. Sindh remained top in achieving the targets of immunization where 98 percent children received polio drops.

In KP, 97.8 percent children were immunized while in AJK 96.5 percent children were vaccinated. Punjab followed the KP with immunizing 94 percent children of its set target while the success rate in Balochistan was 89.8 percent.

The officials said that torrential rains in Baluchistan have affected the anti-polio drive there, while 31 million children were also immunized with Vitamin-A drops along with polio drops.

The officials said that 225,000 healthcare workers participated in the anti-polio drive.

They also said that the COVID-19 SOPs were strictly followed during the anti-polio drive. Total children vaccinated in Sindh were 8291,552, 4460,206 in KP, 646,097 in AJK, 16,781,224 in Punjab, and 1,893,113 in Baluchistan.

A statement of the Pakistan Polio Eradication Programme had said that a sub-national anti-polio drive was launched to immunise 34 million children under the age of five in 130 districts across the country.

“It is imperative that Pakistan continues its fight against polio with an already accessible, safe and widely used vaccine that has saved countless children from polio worldwide,” said Dr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health.

Earlier, the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) about a catch-up campaign launched in July in Karachi, Faisalabad, Attock, South Waziristan and Quetta had achieved 94 per cent target and children were immunised with the vaccine in the five-day campaign.

Anti-polio drive was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, however, it was resumed on 20th of this month. NEOC said that a four months gap was made due to the suspension of campaign during pandemic.