Indonesia's West Java authorities to roll out polio vaccination targeting four mln children

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By Mohd Iswandi Kasan Anuar

JAKARTA, March 30 (Bernama) -- The West Java provincial government will begin its polio vaccination campaign on April 3 after authorities confirmed that a child in Purwakarta district had contracted the disease.

Governor Ridwan Kamil, in a statement, said that a month long immunisation campaign using oral polio vaccine that came as drops in the mouth targets four million children.

The West Java Health Service will lead the campaign with support from the Health Ministry and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to eradicate polio on the ground, he said.

The vaccine rollout comes after a four-year-old girl from Tegal Datar village, Maniis sub-district, was diagnosed with the Type Two Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus on March 14.

A week later, the Health Ministry announced it is closely monitoring 20 children after being exposed to the girl.

Polio is a highly infectious virus transmitted through contaminated water or food or contact with an infected person and affects largely children under five years of age that may cause paralysis.

Last year, over 1.2 million children in Aceh province had been vaccinated following the discovery of four polio cases in the Pidie district in early November.

Indonesia was certified free of wild poliovirus by WHO in 2015, but low immunisation coverage in the country, especially during a pandemic has slowed efforts toward polio eradication.