- The measure will also cover international travelers going to countries in Asia and Africa where cases of wild polio are still occurring.
Cartagena (Bolívar), May 8, 2014. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection announced polio vaccination for adults who are traveling to the World Cup in Brazil or the countries of Asia and Africa where cases of native or wild disease continue to develop.
The government’s decision comes in response to the declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of a public health emergency of international concern, to prevent the spread of polio from countries with outbreaks in the past six months, which could spread to other countries by the movement of people.
Also, the government will recommend that travelers from Cameroon, Pakistan, the Arab Republic, Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria, upon entry into the country–without this involving a refusal to do so–have a polio vaccine administered in Colombia.
During his participation in the IV International Symposium on Pediatric Update in this city, the Deputy Minister of Public Health and Health Services Delivery, Fernando Ruiz Gómez, explained that vaccination on Colombian adults that travel to these destinations may be administered from May 14 at specific points arranged by the Health Offices of the province capitals, which can be consulted on the website of the Ministry of Health and Social Protection.
“Those travelling to Brazil must be vaccinated against polio, yellow fever and measles and rubella,” Ruiz recommended.
In turn, the National Coordinator of the Expanded Program on Immunization of the Ministry, Diego Alejandro García Londoño, explained that this strategy complements the government’s efforts to vaccinate the children in the country against polio, which currently has coverage in excess of 91 percent, for it to remain as a territory free of the disease, according to the recognition granted in 1994 by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
He said that in this regard, the Ministry has allocated annually about 2 billion pesos in the acquisition of polio vaccines, and he brought to mind that children should be vaccinated against this disease at two, four and six months, and must have boosters at 18 months and 5 years of age.