WHO Urges Ban on Pakistanis for Travelling Without Polio Vaccination
As part of its attempts to combat the spread of poliovirus, the WHO has suggested a ban on Pakistani people leaving the country without proof of polio immunisation.
This recommendation follows the 36th Meeting of the Polio IHR Emergency Committee, during which the situation with wild poliovirus (WPV1) and circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV) was thoroughly reviewed in the context of the global eradication target for WPV and the cessation of cVDPV2 outbreaks by the end of 2023.
Following the latest recommendations, Pakistan finds itself in the spotlight as a result of its most recent discovery of WPV1 on July 23, 2023. The country, along with Afghanistan, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Congo, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, has been classified as having a potential risk of international poliovirus spread.
To reduce this risk, the WHO recommends that nations with poliovirus detections declare poliovirus transmission interruption a national public health emergency. This is to be done at the level of the president or prime minister. If such a declaration has already been made, the emergency status should be maintained until the eradication reaction is no longer deemed required.
The adoption of limitations on overseas travel for Pakistani individuals who lack documentation of proper polio immunization is one of the most significant steps recommended by the WHO.
This ban applies to all international travelers leaving Pakistan, regardless of mode of conveyance (road, air, or sea). This action strives to ensure that individuals who may carry the virus outside of the country are fully vaccinated and do not contribute to the transmission of poliovirus in other areas.