Pakistan's new vaccination drive, 'final push' against polio

A Pakistani health worker gives a polio vaccine to a child, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Monday, Aug. 6, 2018. A Pakistani health official says authorities have launched a week-long anti-polio campaign touted as a 'final push' against the crippling disease. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)

ISLAMABAD — A Pakistani health official says authorities have launched a week-long anti-polio campaign touted as a 'final push' against the crippling disease.

Its aim is to vaccinate millions of children under 5 years of age.

Dr. Rana Safdar, the campaign's national coordinator, says the campaign was launched on Monday amid tight security in 89 districts and towns with a total of 110,000 health workers who will fan out vaccinate 19.2 million children.

He says the campaign will last for four days in some areas.

Polio is still endemic in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

But with just three cases reported this year, Pakistan is close to completely eradicating the disease.

Pakistan regularly carries out anti-polio drives despite threats from the Taliban who claim the campaign is a Western conspiracy to sterilize children.

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