Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 29
Taking its fight against the debilitating polio virus to a new level, India will tomorrow roll out the introduction of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in its routine immunization programme, a move that’s part of WHO’s global endgame strategy against the viral disease.
IPV introduction is an important step forward in the plan for total global eradication of polio. This introduction will happen six months ahead of the WHO’s global plan to switch from the current regime of trivalent Oral Polio Vaccine (tOPV) to bivalent OPV in April 2016. WHO plans this global switch at the same time the world over in April next year by when countries have been asked to introduce IPV to maintain population’s immunity.
Health Minister JP Nadda will tomorrow rollout IPV which will be administered to all newborns at age 14 weeks as a single dose in the ongoing routine immunization programme.
Asked what IPV will help achieve and why its rollout is important, a top Health Ministry official said: “IPV is a mandatory requirement before the WHO global switch from trivalent to bivalent OPV. Trivalent OPV offers immunity against all three strains of polio virus, P1, P2 and P3. On the other hand, bivalent OPV offers immunity only against P1 and P3 strains. IPV will cover the risk of shift by maintaining population’s immunity against type-2 poliovirus.”
On why it’s so important to withdraw OPV type-2 vaccine, experts say OPV-2 vaccine is associated with vaccine-derived polio virus and needs to be withdrawn for total polio eradication.
Under the WHO plan, all forms of OPV vaccines will be withdrawn by 2018 and only IPV will remain in the system. By 2024, IPV will also be phased out with expectations that the world would have by then eradicated polio completely.
The Health Ministry is ready with about 40 million doses of IPV which Global Alliance on Vaccine Initiative (GAVI) is funding for the initial rollout in India. The estimated first year cost of IPV administration in India is Rs 300 crore. India’s annual birth cohort of newborns is 27 million.
WHO certified India polio free on March 24, 2014, after three years of nil cases since the last reported case in Howrah in January 2011.
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