The National Polio immunisation programme, also known as the Pulse Polio immunisation programme, scheduled to begin on January 17, has been postponed by the government until further notice due to "unforeseen activities".
As part of the programme, children between 0-5 years are given polio drops to stay immune from the poliovirus.
The Union Health Ministry has communicated the decision to postpone the immunisation programme to all states via a letter on January 9 which said, "This is to inform that due to unforeseen activities, it is decided to postpone the scheduled Polio NID (National Immunisation Day) round from January 17, 2021, till further notice," reported The New Indian Express. The letter was sent to the Principal Secretary in the Health department of all the states.
The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan, on January 8, said that the polio immunisation programme would be carried out on January 17.
"We have decided that on January 17, we are going to have our national immunisation days for polio which will run for two to three days," said Vardhan. He also mentioned that the vaccination is extremely important for the nation to maintain its overall immunity levels against the poliovirus.
However, the country is ready to start its COVID-19 vaccination drive from January 16. According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it will be the world's largest inoculation programme with special priority given to the health care and frontline workers. The vaccine will be offered to healthcare and frontline workers above the age of 50, followed by people younger than 50.