A much safer polio vaccine will be introduced to Namibia in April next year when the country transitions from trivalent live oral poliomyelitis vaccine (ToPV) to bivalent oral polio vaccine (BoPV), the Ministry of Health and Social Services said this week.
Marjorie van Wyk, the Acting Deputy Director for the Family Health Division in the Ministry of Health and Social Services, explained that the introduction of the new vaccine means the strains of polio type two will not be present in the new vaccine, thus making it safer.
"This is to make it safer for our children because there may be vaccine-derived polio outbreaks," explained Van Wyk. Furthermore, Van Wyk said the switch to BoPV is recommended in the World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.
"ToPV worked very well because polio virus 2 has been eliminated in Namibia and that's the reason they said we can switch," Van Wyk told New Era.
According to the Namibia Child Survival strategy for 2014-2018, Namibia has been polio free since October 2008. This is attributed mainly to the fact that the Ministry of Health and Social Services has been able to contain the spread of vaccine-preventable disease over the years with its active national immunization programme, according to the strategy document.
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