Government launches injectable vaccine to prevent polio re-emergence
Union health minister JP Nadda with MoS for Ayush Shripad Yesso Naik launched the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in New Delhi on Monday. (PTI)
In the wake of re-emerging polio, the government launched an injectable vaccine on Monday to be administered in addition to polio drops to double the protection from the deadly virus which has chances of coming back.
The inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) will be introduced in the routine immunisation programme of the government to do away with the risk of re-introduction of the disease. Health minister JP Nadda said that though India was certified polio-free on March 27, 2014, the battle against polio is not over yet.
“The virus is still active in our neighboring countries --Pakistan and Afghanistan. Cases of polio still happen there. So the risk of re-introduction of the disease remains, particularly through importation from these endemic countries,” he said.
“We are there to give them all kinds of support including technical, experience or vaccine-related assistance. But we will have to be vigilant till the virus is eradicated globally,” Nadda said at a function here to launch the vaccine.
“To ensure that our children are doubly protected from polio, the IPV is being introduced into the routine immunisation programme,” he said
In the first phase, the IPV injection is being introduced in six states - Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab.
However, the children will continue to receive OPV (polio drops) dose under routine immunisation and in pulse polio campaigns till they are 5 years of age.
“Even after receiving the IPV vaccine with the third dose of OPV (polio drops), the children must continue to receive OPV doses under routine immunisation and in pulse polio campaigns till they are five years of age,” health secretary BP Sharma said.
He said with the elimination of Type 2 polio from the country, the government is shifting from tOPV vaccine to bOPV vaccine in April 2016 and the introduction of new vaccine IPV in the immunization programme will reduce the risk associated with the shift.