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New Delhi : As per provisional report on day one, close to 89 lakh children under five years across the country were given polio drops on January 31, 2021, on the Polio National Immunization Day, also known as ‘’Polio Ravivar”. Vaccinations were conducted at close to 7 lakh booths manned by around 12 lakh vaccinators and 1.8 lakh supervisors.

President of India Ram Nath Kovind had launched the National Polio Immunisation Day for 2021 by administering polio drops to children less than five years old at Rashtrapati Bhawan on January 30, 2021.

The booth activity will be followed by house-to-house surveillance (mop-up rounds) over the next two to five days to identify and vaccinate children who missed getting vaccinated at the booths. Vaccination teams have also been deployed at bus terminals, railway stations, airports and ferry crossing to vaccinate children in transit to ensure no child misses the life-saving dose, according to a PIB release.

All measures have been taken to ensure safety during the times of the pandemic by maintaining COVID-19 appropriate practices, such as preventing overcrowding at booths, maintaining physical distance of 2 metres, wearing masks, washing hands, and administering polio drops in well ventilated-settings.

Speaking at a function on the eve of the National Immunization Day, the Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said,“Maintaining a polio-free status for 10 years is a huge accomplishment in the history of public health in India.” He also highlighted government efforts and actions to strengthen routine immunisation to ensure that no child suffers from a vaccine-preventable disease.

India has been free of polio for a decade, with the last case of wild poliovirus reported on January 13, 2011. The country, however, continues to remain vigilant to prevent re-entry of the poliovirus into the country from neighbouring countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, where wild poliovirus continues to cause disease.

India conducts one nationwide NID and two Sub-National Immunization Day (SNIDs) for polio every year to maintain population immunity against wild poliovirus and to sustain its polio free status.