ISLAMABAD: A sub-national polio immunization drive will start from June 7 (Monday) to vaccinate over 33 million children under the age of five across Pakistan. Sharing details, Polio Program National Coordinator Dr Shehzad Baig said that the campaign will be carried out in 124 districts and approximately 223,000 frontline workers will be participating in the campaign. He said that the campaign will be started in 33 districts of Balochistan, 35 districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 20 districts of Punjab, and 30 districts of Sindh. He also said that two districts of Azad Jammu Kashmir and federal capital Islamabad are also included in the campaign. He said that frontline workers will visit door-to-door to vaccinate children below five age year. He said that the frontline workers will be following Covid-19 SOPs as during pandemic they ran successful campaigns. PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES Dr Shehzad Baig said that the frontline workers will adhere to strict COVID-19 precautionary measures and protocols, including wearing a mask, using hand sanitizer, and maintaining a safe distance during the vaccination. “Our aim is to ensure timely and repeated vaccination of children. This is key to reduce the immunity gap and protecting our children against polio and other diseases,” he said. He said that the government was committed to reaching the goal of a polio-free Pakistan which requires the full support of the nation, especially from communities and the parents and caregivers of children under the age of five years. “With our highly committed frontline workers, and the cooperation of parents and caregivers, the program aims to restrict the geographic scope of poliovirus circulation to the high-risk areas only and get closer to the goal of eradication in 2021.” He said that the program will continue to sustain high levels of leadership support across the political and society segments, and will further strengthen program implementation structures, engage better with priority communities, reinforce essential immunization and deliver integrated services to underserved communities. PARENTS ROLE He said that parents should play their role to make this campaign successful. He added parents should vaccinate their children to protect them from lifetime paralysis as the community role is important to vaccinate children for their healthy future. It is pertinent to mention that the polio program is working in partnership with various segments of the society, including communities, local influencers, pediatric and medical associations, media, social activists, religious leaders, sport associations, and many others. They are all supportive of vaccination and the goal of reaching a polio-free Pakistan.