24 July 2020 Vol 369, Issue 6502
Polio vaccinators are back after pandemic pause
By Leslie Roberts
Science24 Jul 2020 : 360 Full Access
Mass campaigns resume after modelers warn about risk of “explosive” outbreaks.
In March, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) abruptly halted all mass vaccination campaigns, worried they could inadvertently spread the novel coronavirus. The move further imperiled the troubled 3-decade drive to wipe out polio. But now, armed with new data and perspective, GPEI and the countries it supports are resuming vaccination campaigns. Burkina Faso was first in early July; Pakistan followed this week. Polio cases are surging in many countries, and models suggested there might be “explosive” outbreaks if campaigns don’t restart soon. To reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus, vaccinators will be screened, wear masks, use hand sanitizer, and practice physical distancing as much as possible.