ZWEDRU, Grand Gedeh – The Grand Gedeh County Health Team has launched a polio vaccination campaign across the county, in line with a nationwide campaign being carried out by the country’s Health Ministry.
At the Suah Community General Market Square in Zwedru on March 25, Grand Gedeh’s community health director said the campaign would target children under five years of age. Netus Nowine noted that the vaccination campaign resulted from a new polio outbreak detected in Montserrado in February 2021. This comes after Liberia had been polio-free for years.
According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which is funding the vaccination campaign, the current outbreak is due to a vaccine-derived poliovirus linked to an outbreak that originated in Côte d’Ivoire.
Vaccine-derived polioviruses are named so because they are generated from oral polio vaccines. According to the World Health Organization, the vaccine contains a weakened virus that helps a child’s body build up antibodies before it is excreted. In communities with poor sanitation, the weakened virus can spread in the community. If a population is significantly under-immunized, the virus can undergo genetic changes over an extended period of time before taking the form of a virus capable of causing paralysis. To prevent such incidents, a country needs to ensure that it regularly maintains a high immunization rate.
As a result, Liberia is attempting to immunize over 970,000 children across the country in a door-to-door campaign from March 26 to 29. In Grand Gedeh, the campaign will cover the county’s 24 health districts. Nowine, the community health director, said children who had previously taken the vaccine could still do so again.
At the vaccination launch, UNICEF’s Emma Zarkpa Brown praised the county health team and local government officials for their work in executing the campaign. She called on all parents and guardians to ensure that their children are vaccinated.
“This is for our own good and the good of our children,” Brown said.
Grand Gedeh’s superintendent, Kai Garlo Farley, said he was overwhelmed with the level of support from partners in the health sector to ensure the campaign’s success.
“Don’t hide your children; the vaccine is not dangerous,” he urged parents.
The superintendent, who administered the first dose of the vaccine to a three-year-old, officially declared the campaign opened and called for the support of every Grand Gedean.
Featured photo by Teahwleh Geeplay