• Wednesday, Jun 23, 2021
  • Last Update : 05:10 am

WHO declares Philippines polio-free after vaccine campaign

  • Published at 09:27 pm June 11th, 2021
Int'l--Pakistan-resumes-polio-campaign-after-coronavirus-pause
File photo: A girl receives polio vaccine drops, during an anti-polio campaign, in a low-income neighborhood as the spread of the coronavirus continues, in Karachi, Pakistan July 20, 2020 Reuters

Polio re-emerged in the country in 2019, nearly two decades after its last cases were detected

The Philippines is once again polio-free, the World Health Organization said on Friday, after a successful vaccination campaign that has raised hopes for Covid-19 inoculations in a country plagued by mistrust of jabs.

Polio re-emerged in the country in 2019, nearly two decades after its last cases were detected, sparking a nationwide effort to immunize millions of children against the crippling disease.

At least 17 people were infected, but health authorities said they have not detected the virus in a child or the environment in the past 16 months.

"We are celebrating freedom from polio," said Rabindra Abeyasinghe, the WHO representative in the Philippines.

More than 80% of unvaccinated children were immunized in the nationwide effort, which Abeyasinghe said was "adequate to interrupt the transmission."

The 2019 outbreak began shortly after deadly dengue fever and measles epidemics and as vaccination coverage plunged partly due to the botched rollout of a dengue shot a few years earlier.

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