‘India preparing to introduce inactivated polio vaccine in routine immunisation’
After getting certified as a polio-free country, India is now preparing to introduce inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) in routine immunisation, said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director for South-East Asia.
Speaking at a regional consultation meet on polio and immunisation held in Bangalore on Tuesday, Ms. Singh said the member-States of WHO South-East Asia Region were implementing the Polio Endgame Strategy, the final and most critical strategy for polio eradication. “This strategy refers to a risk-free withdrawal of oral polio vaccine from the programme in a phased manner,” she said.
The first phase of this strategy involved a global switch from trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV) to bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) in the immunisation programme and introduction of IPV in the entire country, she said.
Ms. Singh said the need of the hour was to focus on other vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles and rubella that are major causes of deaths among children and pregnant women globally.
The South-East Asia Region passed a resolution at the 66th Regional Committee in 2013 to eliminate measles and control rubella by 2020. The region was also committed to eliminate maternal and neonatal tetanus by 2015, she said. Nata Menabde, WHO Representative to India, said it was important for the country to sustain its polio-free status until it was eradicated globally.
Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, who inaugurated the meet, said Karnataka would make all efforts to eradicate measles and rubella by 2020. Health Minister U.T. Khader, mission directors and health secretaries from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh attended.