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U.N.-Backed Campaign Aims To Vaccinate 111M Children In 20 Countries Against Polio Over 4 Days

“Some 111.1 million children below the age of five are to be vaccinated against polio in a synchronized campaign covering 20 countries in West and Central Africa starting on Friday,” the WHO and UNICEF said in a joint statement on Wednesday, PANA reports (3/21). The campaign, which will last for four days, “is intended to serve as a massive boost in efforts to eradicate the disease, and will involve national health ministries and U.N. agencies, as well as tens of thousands of volunteers who will go from door-to-door immunizing children,” the U.N. News Centre writes (3/21).

“According to the statement, Nigeria, the only polio endemic country in Africa, aims to get two drops of the oral vaccine into the mouths of 57.7 million children,” and “[n]ineteen other countries, which are at risk of re-infection, are stepping up efforts to reach nearly 53.3 million children,” PANA notes (3/21). “‘Either we succeed in eradicating polio today or this initiative will falter tomorrow and polio will explode,’ said UNICEF’s Regional Director for West and Central Africa, David Gressly,” according to the U.N. News Centre (3/21).