Pune: The battle against polio will turn over a new leaf with the health ministry deciding to switch over to bivalent oral polio vaccine (OPV) from the presently administered trivalent OPV from April 25.
The trivalent oral polio vaccine has been in the immunisation schedule since 1978 and was available for use in India from early 60s. With the switch over and simultaneous introduction of single dose of injectable polio, the country aims at complete eradication of poliomyelitis by 2020.
"A total of 156 countries, including India, will be switching to bivalent oral polio vaccine from April 25. The real challenge now is to collect entire stock of trivalent oral polio vaccine and dispose them scientifically," Ravindra Banpel, World Health Organisation's (WHO) regional team leader (western region) told TOI.
Bivalent oral polio vaccine has been in use as a supplementary immunisation activity in country's high-risk areas. "Now that we are going to completely switch over to bivalent, a slew of workshops are currently underway to train and sensitise the health staff about what the switch actually means and why it matters," Banpel said.
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