Inactivated Polio Vaccine Now Available Worldwide

Sabin strain–based Inactivated Polio Vaccine (sIPV) demonstrated an immunogenicity profile non-inferior to Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)

young afghanistan children

Following the introduction of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) into Zimbabwe and Mongolia’s routine immunization programs, every country in the world has now introduced the children’s protective vaccine. 

The IPV consists of inactivated (killed) poliovirus strains of all 3 poliovirus types. It produces antibodies in the blood to all types of poliovirus. In the event of infection, these antibodies prevent the spread of the virus to the central nervous system and protect against paralysis. 

“Introducing IPV into routine immunization programs is a critical milestone on our journey towards a polio-free world,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization and Chair of the GPEI Polio Oversight Board, in a press release. 

Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) has been the predominant vaccine used in the fight to eradicate polio. Virtually all countries which have eradicated polio used OPV to interrupt person to person transmission of the virus. 

The attenuated poliovirus(es) contained in OPV can replicate effectively in the intestine but are around 10,000 times less able to enter the central nervous system than the wild virus. 

This enables individuals to mount an immune response. 

And, there may be a new polio vaccine approved for use in humans. 

In January 2019, a new study found the Sabin strain–based Inactivated Polio Vaccine (sIPV) demonstrated an immunogenicity profile non-inferior to that of the conventional Inactivated Polio Vaccine, and it displayed a good safety profile. 

This phase 3 clinical trial found seroconversion rates in the sIPV and IPV groups were 98% and 94.1%, respectively, for type 1 poliovirus; and 98.9% and 97.7%, respectively, for type 3.   

This study is good news since the WHO encourages the development of new IPVs that use less virulent strains, which carries a lower bio-safety risk and demonstrates long-term affordability and accessibility. 

Polio is a highly contagious viral infection, mainly affecting children under the age of 5, which can lead to paralysis or even death. 

Only 3 countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan – remain endemic to wild poliovirus.

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Recently, 30 Islamic religious scholars from Afghanistan and Pakistan reiterated ‘that polio vaccines are not only safe and in compliance with Islamic principles, but also a religious and moral duty incumbent on all parents.’     

This joint declaration was issued at the Afghanistan-Pakistan Eminent Ulama Conference, held in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman, on April 15, 2019. 

Since the beginning of 2019, only 15 cases of wild poliovirus have been recorded by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

Polio has been eliminated from the USA thanks to widespread polio vaccinations, says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

The CDC recommends that children get 4 doses of polio vaccine. 

This means that there is no year-round transmission of poliovirus in the USA. Since 1979, no cases of polio have originated in the United States. 

However, the virus has been brought into the country by travelers with polio. 

For additional information on countries with polio circulation and vaccine recommendations, consult the travel notices on the CDC Travelers’ Health website.

Pre-trip, vaccine and medication counseling appointments can be scheduled at Vax-Before-Travel.

Relevant Links: Updated Vaccination Schedules, CDC Price List, report vaccine side effects, and International Travel Alerts