New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Saturday administered polio drops to children below five years at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and thus launched the Pulse Polio programme for 2019.

The Health Ministry had issued a statement saying that more than 17 crore children below five years of age across the country will be administered polio drops as part of the central government’s drive. Union Minister for Health JP Nadda who was also present at the programme, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying it was under his tutelage that Universal Immunisation Programme began and it focussed on protecting children from several diseases.

Under this programme, several new vaccines like a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, rotavirus vaccine and measles-rubella vaccine have been introduced. Nadda said, “To provide additional protection to our children, the government has also introduced the injectable inactivated polio vaccine into its routine immunisation programme.”

Apart from the Universal Immunisation Programme, the government had also launched Mission Indradhanush to accelerate the immunisation process across the country. Over 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated through Mission Indradhanush drive, said the Union Health Minister.

The Gurugram health department will begin a three-day-long intensified pulse polio immunisation drive from Sunday. Around 3.5 lakh children below the age of five are expected to be covered, as per reports.

Gurugram district urban nodal officer Dr MP Singh said the focus is on clusters and remote areas and for the drive. Around 1,267 booths will be set up in different areas to administer polio drops.