The local administration has formed as many as 649 temporary centers.

QUETTA (Dunya News / Reuters) – Injectable/inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) drive on Monday has kicked off in high-risk districts of Balochistan to inoculate as many as 2,39,199 children.

The injectable vaccination would immunize children between four to 23 months old in several areas of Quetta, Pashin and Killa Abdullah.

The local administration has formed as many as 649 temporary centers whereas police and Levies personnel have also been deployed at the security of the polio workers.

On the other hand, Frontier Corps (FC) has also been summoned to avoid any untoward situation.

Polio is a highly infectious disease that invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours.

A $5.5 billion global eradication plan was launched in April with the aim of vaccinating 250 million children multiple times each year to stop the virus finding new footholds, and stepping up surveillance in more than 70 countries.

It is now endemic in only two countries, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s polio cases are declining, with just 54 cases of polio virus reported last year, down more than 80 percent from 2014, when the country suffered a large spike in cases.

Efforts to eliminate polio in Pakistan have been complicated in recent years, as polio workers have faced attacks by militants who say the health teams are Western spies, or that the vaccines they administer are intended to sterilise children.

In January, a suicide bomber killed at least 15 people outside a polio eradication centre in the restive western city of Quetta, with two militant groups claiming responsibility.