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6 million children vaccinated in phase one of anti-polio campaign

Over 6 million children have been vaccinated in the recently concluded anti-polio campaign, according to the final tally provided by the the ministry of health.

The campaign, which was held between 1 and 5 August saw 6,029,035 children under five years old vaccinated, against a target of 6,070,593. This means that the campaign has achieved a success rate of 99.3 per cent.

The drive began last Saturday amid complaints by the Catholic Church that the vaccine was contaminated. The church called on parents to boycott the polio vaccine, stoking fears that the vaccination exercise might not go through.

However, tests by the National Quality Control Laboratory showed that the vaccine was safe.

COUNTIES COVERED

The just concluded vaccination exercise is the first of two that will take place in the country this year. It covered Lamu, Tana River, Kitui, Marsabit, Tharaka Nithi, Nairobi, Garissa, Mandera, Wajir, Homabay, Kisii, Kisumu, Migori, Nyamira, Siaya, Baringo, Bomet, Elgeyo Marakwet, Kericho, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Samburu, Trans Nzioa, Turkana, Uasin Gishu, West Pokot, Busia, Bungoma, Kakamega and Vihiga Counties.

The second phase of the campaign will be conducted from 29th August to 2nd September and will target the high risk counties of Lamu, Tana River, Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Migori, Homabay, Siaya, Marsabit, Turkana and Narok. A total of 1, 858, 849 children will be targeted for that campaign.

According to the Ministry of Health MOH, the need for two campaigns stems from a risk analysis that was conducted in Kenya in January which found that 66 per cent of Kenya was still at moderate risk of polio should an imported case be found in the country.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) therefore recommended that Kenya conducts two vaccination campaigns in 2015 targeting the vulnerable areas.