The Polio Vaccine Menace: Should You Worry?

polio vaccine

There has been a recent spurt in media regarding the contamination of oral polio vaccine with type 2 poliovirus strain by a certain vaccine manufacturer. The Director of the Company was arrested last Friday after the CDSCO and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare lodged an FIR. What are the facts around it? Is it really something to worry about? Does the campaign “DO BOOND JINDAGI KI” for compulsory polio vaccination of kids require further investigation?

We understand the concern. This made us consult the experts and find the answers.

What is the Background of Type 2 Polio Virus Strain?

Polio vaccines were prepared using three poliovirus strains: types 1, 2 and 3, in the past. However, August 2016 onwards, it was decided by the Government of India to withdraw the type 2 strain based on its epidemiological significance.

So, a large number of children received the same strain that had been used under the National Immunization Program for long in the past, before the Government decided to withdraw it.

What Can We Do in This Regard?

While Government Authorities are investigating and digging deep into this issue, what we must know as parents? Here is what experts have to say:

First and foremost, there is no need to panic and worry! This vaccine (the one with type 2 strain of poliovirus) had been used for mass immunization program in our country for many years until it was withdrawn in 2016. Also, chances of being infected by poliovirus are almost close to negligible as the vaccine carries the virus in the dormant state which can only help us build immunity against polio.

However, we always want to be 110% sure when it comes to our kids’ health and safety! That said, we should practice some extra precautionary measures.

Top Pediatricians across the country state following recommendations:

1. If your child is already vaccinated with IPV (Injectable Polio Vaccine), there is no need to take any further step as your child is already immunized.

2. If your child is being administered only OPV (Oral Polio Vaccine), it is recommended to get a shot of IPV to ensure complete immunization cover. The recommended schedule of IPV administration is as follows:

– For child < 6 months of age: 3 doses of IPV 4-6 weeks apart, along with a booster dose at age of 1.5 years.

– For child > 6 months and < 1 year of age: 2 doses of IPV 4-6 weeks apart, along with a booster dose at age of 1.5 years.

– For child > 1 year and < 1.5 years of age: 1 dose of IPV followed by 1 booster dose 1.5 years of age with a minimum of 4 weeks gap between the two doses.

– For child > 1.5 years of age: 1 booster dose of IPV.

The above mentioned schedule is based on the recommendations of the experts consulted. However, one should always visit a pediatrician before the suggested vaccination.

**Consult India’s best doctors here**

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)

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