In a major relief for health care workers, the Union Health Ministry has postponed this year's polio vaccination drive in view of the Covid-19 vaccination drive which kickstarts from January 16.
Every year, the polio drive starts from January 14 but this year the same has been postponed for the time being. With this announcement, healthcare workers have heaved a sigh of relief as they were anxious about handling two vaccination drives simultaneously.
Doctors have assured that there is no need to panic as the current polio vaccination drive is done to increase herd immunity among the population. It would not lead to the development of polio in future if they miss this vaccination.
Senior officials from the BMC immunisation programme said currently everyone is focusing on the mass vaccination drive which is to be kick started from January 16 due to which healthcare will not be able to give their 100 per cent for the polio vaccination drive. It's better to be postponed rather than mismanaged. “Conducting two vaccination drives at the same time will not create problems but also lead to pressure on the HCWs which will impact the door-to-door immunisation programme,” he said. Moreover, delaying the polio vaccination drive will not impact on the health of the infants as it is an additional dose given them during this drive.
Dr Paras Kothari, head of the paediatric surgery department, Sion Hospital said there is no harm in postponing the polio vaccination as in the current scenario controlling coronavirus is more important than any other diseases or virus in the country. Things need to prioritise depending on the environment created due to covid-19 across the world. “We are receiving more polio vaccines for prevention in the society, but for now we need to focus on covid-19 as the cases of polio are under control in the society. Every year five doses of polio are compulsory and these additional doses are given for the herd immunity in the society,” he said.