The national polio immunization programme has been rescheduled from January 17 (Monday) to January 31 because of the Covid-19 vaccination drive that begins on Saturday, Union health ministry announced on Thursday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will roll out the world’s largest Covid-19 vaccination exercise, it added. “Therefore, it has been decided…to reschedule the polio vaccination day, also known as the National Immunisation Day (NID) or ‘Polio Ravivar’ to 31th January 2021 (Sunday),” the ministry said in a statement.
President Ramnath Kovind will launch the polio immunization programme by administering polio drops to children at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
“The decision [to defer the polio campaign] is in keeping with the stated policy of the Health Ministry to ensure that COVID management and vaccination services as well as non-COVID essential health services proceed in tandem without adversely impacting each other,” the statement said.
The polio vaccination drive takes place each year in January with a mop up round in the second half of the year.
In a letter written to states last week, the ministry asked them to postpone the anti-polio drive until further notice.