Visitors from Pakistan have to be vaccinated for polio: India

India on Wednesday announced it would be mandatory for all persons adults or children travelling to the country from Pakistan to furnish proof of vaccination against polio from January 30 next year.

PTI| Last Updated: Dec 11, 2013, 19:26 PM IST

Islamabad: India on Wednesday announced it would be mandatory for all persons adults or children travelling to the country from Pakistan to furnish proof of vaccination against polio from January 30 next year.

"The step is being taken to safeguard India`s polio-free status attained after sustained efforts and investment," said a statement from the Indian High Commission here.

"It is applicable to all travellers from all countries where polio disease is endemic or where cases of polio are reported," it said.

Travellers from Pakistan will be required to carry their vaccination record because evidence of polio vaccination will be requested for entry into India.

Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria are the only three countries where polio remains endemic. The new measure will also apply to Indian nationals travelling to and from countries where polio is endemic.

Travellers should take Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) at least six weeks before their departure to India but not more than a year before the trip, the statement said.

Record of taking OPV should be obtained from an authorised medical centre in the format laid out in the International Certificate of Vaccination?of the World Health Organisation`s International Health Regulations of 2005.

Once administered, the vaccine remains effective for a year, after which it should be taken again.

The number of polio cases in Pakistan has touched 63 this year, up five from the whole of last year. Militants and gunmen frequently attack vaccination teams, accusing them of being Western spies and part of a plot to "sterilise" Muslims.

The WHO recently said polio that crippled 13 children in Syria was caused by a strain of the virus that originated in Pakistan and is spreading across the Middle East. Genetic sequencing showed the strain found in Syrian children was linked to a strain of Pakistani origin found in sewage in Egypt, Israel and Palestinian territories.
In June last year, the Pakistani Taliban banned polio vaccinations in parts of the lawless tribal belt, saying the restriction would last till US drone strikes cease.
Since then, at least 260,000 children in North and South Waziristan regions have not been vaccinated against polio.