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New Vaccination in Polio Intervention Sought

New Vaccination in Polio Intervention Sought

With the number of polio cases coming down steeply in the country and zero cases reported from the southern states, experts have suggested the need for newer interventions.
The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP), the premier association of Pediatricians in India, has lauded eradication efforts by the govt. and recommended a judicious use of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Inject able Polio Vaccine (IPV) in the pre-eradication phase, before singly introducing IPV in the post eradication era.
As of now, IPV has never been used during current polio-eradication program in the country although GoI and India Expert Advisory Group (IEAG) has recommended studies on feasibility of using IPV during the pre-eradication phase on several occasions.

According to Dr Deepak Ugra, President, IAP, “In the current phase of pre-eradication, IPV can be a valuable tool if used in campaign mode in the endemic states to hasten the interruption of wild polio virus transmission. States that are polio-free and not contiguous with Uttar Pradesh or Bihar like the southern states need to introduce IPV in the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) schedule and restrict OPV only for three annual pulse campaigns instead of 2 as practiced now. Once UP and Bihar also qualify for introduction of IPV, the whole nation can use IPV in EPI and OPV by pulses, until clear evidence emerges of the total absence of wild polio virus. Thereafter OPV may no longer be needed.”

Oral polio vaccine (OPV) has been the choice for routine immunization in India since 1995. However this hasn’t helped the country to control the disease as many children have contracted the disease despite taking multiple doses of the vaccine.

According to T Jacob John, Member, Global Advisory Polio Eradication Committee, WHO and former Head of Clinical Virology at the Christian Medical College in Vellore, “A strategy shift from OPV to IPV will avoid inevitable problems associated with OPV such as vaccine associated polio, risk of polio in immunocompromised children and risk of vaccine derived polio outbreaks that have occurred in few countries even after successful eradication of wild polio.”

OPV is a live but weakened virus given as drops to children. This is the most common mode of polio vaccination in India. However, most developed countries have already switched to IPV which contains killed or inactivated virus. Today, over 50 polio-free countries are already using IPV and/or combination vaccines with IPV.

According to the WHO, a nation cannot be declared polio-free unless there are no fresh cases reported for 3 consecutive years. The polio eradication deadline has already been extended thrice by over 8 years.


  
 
 

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