New Delhi: India’s first injectible inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) was on Monday launched by Health Minister J.P. Nadda as part of the country’s commitment to global polio eradication.
The minister announced that IPV injection will be given to children below one year of age, along with the third dose of the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) at the routine immunization sessions free of cost.
“At this momentous milestone, India remains committed to global polio eradication. India is introducing IPV into its routine immunization programme along with oral polio vaccine,” said the minister.
In the first phase, the vaccine will be introduced in six states — Assam, Gujarat, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh, Nadda said.
According to reports, new evidence shows that IPV and OPV together will further strengthen children’s immune system and provide double protection against polio.
The introduction of IPV in routine immunization is as per recommendation made in the World Health Assembly in May 2015.
India was declared polio free in 2014.
“IPV will roll out to 126 countries which are only using OPV in the national programme and it will be the largest and fastest globally-coordinated vaccine introduction project in history,” said Nadda.
Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Jagdish Prasad, additional health secretary C.K. Mishra were present on the occasion.
Louis-Georges Arsenault, Unicef representative to India, commended the strengthening of India’s immunization programme by introduction of IPV and termed this a “monumental step”.
He reiterated Unicef’s commitment and support in India’s immunization endeavour.