India has remained free from polio for past five years. With this, the government now decided to switch to bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) from its present trivalent version within few months. Recently, on the eve of National Immunization Day, President Pranab Mukherjee launched the countrywide Pulse Polio program for 2016.
Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda said that the switch will be done in a globally synchronized manner. Mr Nadda was present while Mr. Mukherjee launched the countrywide Pulse Polio program for 2016 at the Rahstrapati Bhavan at the Rahstrapati Bhavan, by administering polio drops to children.
Trivalent OPV constitute live and weakened versions for three types of wild polio (1, 2 and 3), where as the bivalent vaccine contain type 1 and type 3. Already, injectable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) has been introduced into India’s routine immunization program along with oral polio vaccine (OPV) from November 2015.
As a part of the first phase, IPV has been introduced in Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Punjab, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. Under the Pulse Polio program for 2016, polio drops will be given to nearly 17.4 crore children less than five years age.
“Polio-free status for five years is a treasure for all of us. India has been now validated for maternal and neonatal tetanus elimination in May 2015 well before the global target date of December 2015. This is a monumental achievement in the country’s efforts to achieve universal healthcare and address health inequities,” Mr. Nadda said.