Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in routine immunization schedule launched
The Ministry of Health in line with the Global Polio Endgame Strategy 20132018 introduced one dose of Inactivated Polio Vaccine in nationwide (IPV) yesterday.
According to the press release from the Ministry of health in addition to the existing oral polio vaccine (OPV) into routine immunization program at 14weeks after the birth is to provide best protection against polio but IPV is con- sidered to be very safe whether given alone or given in combination with other vaccines.
The Director of Department of Public Health from Ministry of Heath , Dr. Pandup Tshering said that, polio is one of the most debilitating infectious diseases to affect human causing both mortality and irreversible paralysis among those affected.
He added that Global Polio Eradication Initiative to develop a polio eradication and end game strategic plan which was endorsed by the WHO member states at the World Health Assembly in 2013.
He said that Bhutan has initiated number of activities for polio eradication and the vaccination against polio was started in 1979 as part of the expanded program on immunization.
While the last case of polio was reported in Bhutan in 1986, two years before the launch Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and thus demonstrating the success of the program, he added.
The Ministry of Health also took cautionary measures to prevent importation of polio by mandating polio immunization for all Bhutanese people travelling on pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, Bihar (India) and to other polio endemic and high risk countries, said the Director.
He added that till date, no reports of vaccine associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP) and Vaccine Derived Poliovirus (VDPV) has been reported in Bhutan.
He also added that, the inactivated polio vaccine will be introduced throughout the country in all immunization centers from now onwards without having to pay and will be given at 14 weeks after birth along with third dose of Pentavalent.
The reason for giving this vaccine at 14 weeks is that it is proven to immunogenicity is higher after 14 weeks due to reduction in maternal antibodies which otherwise would interfere with immunogenicity and giving at 14 weeks also immunizes the benefit in protecting children against type two virus after OPV two cessation, said the Director.
According to the press release, Poliomyelitis (polio) is an acute communicable disease of humans caused by poliovirus serotypes one, two or three. In the pre vaccine period that is before 1960, virtually all children became infected. In less than one percent of those infected it caused acute flaccid paralysis (AFP), commonly with persistent sequelae. Case fatality rates among paralytic cases ranged from five percent to 10 percent in children and from 15 percent to 30 percent in adolescents and adults.
In 1988 the World Health Assembly resolved to eradicate poliomyelitis globally and the Global Polio Eradica-
tion Initiative (GPEI) was established, stated the press release.
It further stated that, Bhutan started vaccination against Polio with the launch of expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) in 1979, since the inception of planned economic development. In 1961, Royal Government of Bhutan was able to provide effective and equitable health services through the Primary Health Care Approach (PHC).
The last case of polio was reported in 1986 two years before the initiation of Global Polio Eradication initiative (GPEI) and Bhutan has achieved Universal Child Immunization (UCI) in 1991 and routine immunization coverage for 3rd dose of OPV at 14 weeks age of the child, which is a measure of effective Polio vaccination, has been consistently over 95percent.
While, Bhutan was certified Polio free on 27th March, 2014, when the region was declared polio free by WHO. Now, Bhutan will be continuing to monitor Polio cases through Acute Flaccid paralysis (AFP) surveillance till polio is globally eradicated.
With the launching of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV), the country ensures that Bhutan will joins in the global drive to eradicate Polio from the world.
Meanwhile, before the introduction of the vaccine, they have trained all the health staffs involved in immunization on introduction of IPV and also developed and distributed health information materials for parents and health workers to all health centers.
It was launched by the Minister of Health, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk which was technically supported by WHO, UNICEF and the GAVI at the Community Health Department at JDWNRH.