Over 5.3 lakh children were administered polio vaccination drops in the city on Sunday, in the first phase of the nation-wide programme. This amounts to 93.4 per cent coverage, as the targeted number was 5.76 lakh children, Chennai Corporation officials said. The day-long programme began with mayor Saidai Duraisamy administering the polio vaccine drops to a child at a community hall in Kolathur, in the presence of Vikram Kapur, Chennai Corporation Commissioner.
The Corporation as well as the department of public health had made elaborate arrangements, deploying staff at railway stations, bus stops and other places including the trade fair at Island Grounds. At Velachery railway station, volunteers from St. John’s Ambulance assisted the Corporation staff. By noon, more than 500 children has received their vaccines here.
At Island Grounds, two booths were opened and a little past noon, more than 2,000 children below the age of 5 had received the vaccine, officials said. Southern Railway too, had set up booths at the entrance and exit points and the lobbies at Central and Egmore railway stations. T. Anand, deputy commissioner, health, said that in December, they had launched a special drive to administer the vaccine to children of migrant workers, especially those living near construction sites.
Under the jurisdiction of the Saidapet health unit district that covers the city’s immediate as well as extended suburbs, more than the stipulated number of children were covered. “Our aim was to vaccinate 2.34 lakh children among the resident population, but by the end of Sunday, we had covered a little more than 2.38 lakh children,” said S. Rajasekaran, deputy director of the unit.
This was possible mainly thanks to vehicles covering inaccessible areas as well as mobile booths with staff drawn from different centres stationed at toll plazas on many national highways, he said. The nation-wide two-phase vaccination drive comes a week after the official announcement that India is now polio-free, with not a single new case having been reported in the past three years.
Over 3.5 lakh children below the age of five were vaccinated by a team of 8,059 persons, including those forming part of 23 special mobile teams.While 1,989 vaccine administration centres at schools, railway stations, bus stops and other public places were set up for this purpose, special mobile teams were formed to cover children staying with their parents at various construction sites. The second dose of the vaccine will be administered on February 23, according to a press release.