Polio immunization: WHO issues new recommendations
Prior to polio eradication, national immunization schedules should include either oral polio vaccine, inactivated polio vaccine, or a combination of both. Vaccine decisions should be based on assessments of the potential for importation of wild poliovirus (WPV) and subsequent transmission. High immunization coverage is essential to ensure adequate population immunity. As long as WPV transmission has not been interrupted everywhere, all polio-free countries and areas remain at risk of re-importation, particularly from the remaining polio-endemic countries.
A new position paper covering routine polio immunization in the pre-eradication era, particularly in developing country settings, was published today in the WHO Weekly Epidemiological Record. The position paper includes information on the types of polio vaccine available, and their safety, immunogenicity, field efficacy and cost-effectiveness. It concludes with policy recommendations.
Polio is an infectious viral disease transmitted through person-to-person contact, which mainly affects young children. One in 200 infections leads to irreversible paralysis, usually in the legs.