Islamabad: Health authorities in Pakistan have started administering polio injections for the first time in the country.
Authorities have started administering polio injections in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), which is for the first time in Pakistan's history, Dawn online reported citing officials as saying.
The injectable/inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is said to be highly effective in preventing paralytic disease caused by all three types of poliovirus and is currently being used by a majority of the polio-free developed and advanced countries.
Officials in the Fata secretariat said that polio injections have been planned for 17,393 children in the frontier region of Bannu district in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
They said that so far about 5,906 children have been injected with anti polio vaccines and the five day drive will end Friday.
The experts are of the view that injections would be more effective as compared to polio drops, secondly the polio vaccination had been proved an uphill task due to law and order situation and attacks on the vaccinators besides denial on part of the parents.
The inactivated polio virus vaccine is injected into a muscle or under the skin and is usually given by a healthcare professional in a hospital, clinic, or provider's office.
Pakistan is one of the three polio-endemic countries which have been using oral polio vaccine (OPV) since the disease has hit the country.
The Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-18 of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) had hinted at the new scheme in its April 2013 report of introducing IPV for the first time in three polio endemic countries - Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.
The year 2014 was the darkest year for the Pakistan polio programme, with the number of confirmed cases reaching 296 -- the highest number of cases reported in the country since 1998.
Polio cases in Pakistan reached a low of 28 in 2005 but rose to 198 in 2011, In 2012, Pakistan recorded 58 cases, while 93 were recorded in 2013, as reported by End Polio Pakistan.