Israel’s "Two Drops" Deploys 2.5 Million Polio Vaccines
The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Israel recently confirmed the ninth polio case diagnosed in the Jerusalem area since March 2022.
These are Israel's first local polio cases in more than three decades.
Furthermore, testing of the virus revealed genetic links to circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 3 (cVDPV3) strains detected in environmental samples collected between September 2021 and January 2022 from sites in Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Tiberias, and Modiin Illit.
To reduce the risk of additional polio cases, Israel launched the ‘Two Drops” polio vaccination operation that is currently underway in Jerusalem and its environs.
The “Two Drop” operation has already vaccinated over 22,000 children.
On April 11, 2022, the MoH announced about half a million additional polio vaccine doses landed in Israel. And about two million vaccine doses are expected to arrive and be distributed throughout Israel in the week to come.
Under guidance from the Advisory Committee on Poliovirus, the Ministry of Health has resolved to launch a full poliovirus vaccination coverage for all persons aged six weeks to 17 years. The Ministry of Health requests parents verify whether their children are fully vaccinated according to the Ministry of Health schedule.
Since 2014, the combined polio vaccine (IPV + OPV) has been given as part of the child immunization schedule.
According to estimates provided by the IHR-NFP for Israel, the third dose of inactivated poliovirus (IPV) and the first dose of oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage in Israel was 97.6% and 88.3%, respectively in 2020.
As part of the operation, poliovirus vaccines will be given according to the vaccination schedule, with some alterations, such as:
- Children will receive the first two doses of the quintuple vaccine (which contains IPV) earlier than usual: ages 6 and 10 weeks.
- Children will receive the first bOPV dose earlier than usual: the second quintuple vaccine dose, minimum age of 10 weeks.
Although there is currently no evidence of the circulation of this cVDPV3 in occupied Palestinian territory, the proximity and interconnectedness of communities on both sides of the border and the volume and frequency of cross-border population movement underscore the risk to unvaccinated children in both places.
Local health authorities in both Israel and occupied Palestinian territory are conducting field, epidemiological and virological investigations to determine the source and origin of the isolated virus and the potential risk of further spread associated with it.
And in Spain, local media reported three cases of acute hepatitis of unknown origin were confirmed on April 13, 2022.
The U.S. CDC issued Level 2 Travel Advisories on March 25, 2022, alerting international travelers to polio outbreaks in Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe.
The CDC says before any international travel, anyone unvaccinated, incompletely vaccinated, or with an unknown polio vaccination status should complete the routine polio vaccine series.
And before traveling to any high-risk destination, the CDC recommends adults who previously completed the entire routine polio vaccine series receive a single, lifetime booster dose of polio vaccine.
The U.S. CDC's latest polio vaccine recommendations were published on February 17, 2022.
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