Title

The polio vaccination story of Pakistan

Document Type

Commentary

Department

Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; French Medical Institute for Children

Abstract

Background: To describe in chronological detail Pakistan's decades long battle against poliovirus and evaluate the multiple factors impacting it.
Main body: Pakistan's fight is documented through various published research articles and reports on Pakistan's progress in eradication of polio published by international agencies involved in elimination of poliovirus worldwide. The socioeconomic, religious, and political factors, violent religious militancy, conspiracy theories resulting in vaccine refusals are documented in detail emphasizing the ups and downs in the fight at different times since 1994 to present. Pakistan and Afghanistan are the only two countries in the world reporting cases caused by wild polio virus type 1 (WPV1) since 2017 and the only two countries that have never stopped the transmission of WPV1 Pakistan needs to work on a war footing to eliminate the disease. The need to act urgently is now being increasingly recognized by the Pakistani Government.
Conclusion: Many difficulties still remain. Pakistan has reached a critical stage in the fight against polio. The world will not accept any further delay or complacency as there is apprehension around the world that Pakistan may "export" polio to other countries and undermine the worldwide success in eradicating polio.

Publication

Vaccine

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