‘Over 2 mn Syrian kids given polio vaccine’

Damascus, Jan 20: Syrian government has revealed that over two million children have been covered under a polio vaccination campaign in the country.

The polio vaccination drive reached 2,492,821 children, said Syrian Health Minister Saad al-Nayef, adding that the latest statistics did not include the vaccinated children in the country’s northern city of al-Raqqa, captured by the radical rebels from the Islamic State of the Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Xinhua reported Sunday.

He also said that the second national campaign faced difficulties due to the armed rebels’ attacks on the vaccinations’ convoys and medical staffs in some areas.

The minister placed the number of the polio-infected kids at 17, of whom 15 cases were reported in al-Mayadin area in Deir al-Zour province, one in the northern province of Aleppo and one in Damascus countryside.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said recently that the recent polio outbreak in Syria is the first since 1999, adding that the preliminary evidence indicates that the polio virus is of Pakistani-origin and is similar to the strain detected in Egypt, the West Bank and Gaza Strip over the last 12 months.