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India switches to injectable polio vaccines

Posted:  Friday, March 18, 2016

India is taking its fight against poliomyelitis to the next level. India was officially declared polio-free by the WHO two years ago. The country launched the injectable form of inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV) through its universal immunisation programme in November 2015.

The IPV programme has now been introduced in 17 high-risk states within India. However, Indian children will continue to receive oral polio drops as part of the eradication drive. Oral polio vaccine (OPV) contains the live virus and may rarely cause polio outbreaks. Contrastingly, IPV does not cause vaccine-derived polio and is totally safe. Moreover, it is highly effective in children and also provides excellent herd effect.

“Introducing the IPV is the first step in phased withdrawal of OPV. IPV will be introduced in all countries including Afghanistan and Pakistan. With the wild P2 strain of the virus eradicated, the trivalent OPV will be replaced with a bivalent vaccine with no P2 component. After the switch is effected during two weeks of April 2016, all trivalent OPV in the world will be destroyed,” said Sona Bari, spokesperson for WHO in Geneva.

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