Over 1.2 million children in Tajikistan received oral polio vaccine in the second round of the supplemental immunization campaign completed on 5 July 2021. The immunization campaign was conducted in response to the identification of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) in the country.
Since March 2021, the Tajik government and health-care workforce have been working tirelessly on planning the campaign and ensuring access to vaccines for every child under 6 years of age. WHO, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners have been supporting the country’s efforts in surveillance, vaccine procurement, capacity-building in vaccine management, communications and community engagement.
Monitoring of the 2 rounds of the immunization campaign showed that meticulous preparation had paid off, with impressive results – all eligible children in the country had access to much-needed protection against polio, including those traveling or living in remote areas. Despite the challenges imposed by a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country starting in June, Tajikistan reported 99.2% coverage in the first round and 99.1% coverage in the second among the children targeted by the immunization campaign.
Enhanced surveillance will continue in the coming months to ensure that no polio cases go undetected. The formal external outbreak response assessment, which is planned for late August 2021, will guide activities in the months ahead.
About polio in Tajikistan
The first cVDPV2 case with onset of acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) was reported on 22 November 2020 in Khatlon Province. As of 13 July 2021, the total number of AFP cases confirmed to be caused by cVDPV2 in Tajikistan is 15. All detected cases are linked to a virus strain currently circulating in Pakistan.