$2.6 Billion Committed to Eradicate Polio
Worldwide health leaders recently confirmed US$ 2.6 billion in funding toward the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's (GPEI) 2022-2026 Strategy to end polio.
The funding will support global efforts to vaccinate 370 million children annually over the next five years and continue disease surveillance across 50 countries.
As of October 26, 2022, wild poliovirus is endemic in just two countries – Pakistan and Afghanistan.
However, after just six cases were recorded in 2021, 29 cases have been recorded so far this year, including a small number of new detections in southeast Africa linked to a strain originating in Pakistan.
Additionally, poliovirus outbreaks continue to spread across parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe, with new outbreaks recently detected in the U.S. (New York), Israel, and London, England.
Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, commented in a press release on October 18, 2022, "The question is not whether it's possible to eradicate polio—it's whether we can summon the will and the resources to finish the job."
"We look forward to working together to create a polio-free future and build more equitable and resilient health systems for all."
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation pledged US$ 1.2 billion of the $2.6 funding.
In addition to the new funding for GPEI, a group of more than 3 000 influential scientists, physicians, and public health experts from around the world released a declaration endorsing the 2022-2026 Strategy.
The group points to new tactics in the program's strategy, like the continued roll-out of the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2), that make them confident in GPEI's ability to end polio.
Five hundred million doses of nOPV2 have already been administered across 23 countries, and field data continue to show its promise as a tool to more sustainably stop outbreaks of type 2 cVDPV.
The group further asserts that support for eradication significantly strengthens immunization systems and pandemic preparedness worldwide and urges endemic and polio-affected country leadership to stay committed to expanded vaccination and disease surveillance activities.
Previously, the U.S. CDC's Alert - Level 2 Travel Advisory issued on September 26, 2022, stated that anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series before any international travel.
In the U.S., combination polio vaccines and IPV boosters are generally available at most clinics and travel pharmacies.
Other poliovirus outbreak news and polio vaccine news are posted at PrecisionVaccinations.
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