Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare JP Nadda today launched the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) in India as part of its commitment to the “Global Polio Endgame Strategy.”
Speaking on the occasion, the Health Minister said, “ In a landmark step to provide double protection to our children and securing our gains of polio eradication, the Government of India is introducing IPV into its routine immunization program along with oral polio vaccine.”
He informed that in the first phase this vaccine will be introduced in six states, viz Assam, Gujarat, Punjab, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh. 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, he said. New evidences now clearly show that IPV and OPV together will further strengthen the children’s immune system and will provide double protection against polio, the Health Minister added.
Nadda said, that today’s introduction of IPV in routine immunization is as per recommendation made in World Health Assembly in May, 2015 and endorsed by Global Polio Endgame Strategy. IPV will roll-out to 126 countries which are only using OPV in the National program and it will be the largest and fastest globally-coordinated vaccine introduction project in history. Further he said, while keeping intact our polio agenda, “We are utilizing the opportunities to intensify our efforts to ensure full immunization of all children in the country. Every new vaccine introduction gives us the added opportunity of health system strengthening. As part of this introduction we have trained our health officials and frontline health workers”, the Health Minister said.
The Health Minister said that apart from introduction of new vaccines such as Pentavalent and IPV, the Government of India is ensuring that every last child in the country is benefited by the immunization programme. To achieve this, “Mission Indradhanush” was launched in unidentified high and medium focus districts across the country in two phases.
Poonam Khetrapal, Regional Director, WHO said that launching IPV in India is a historic moment and will further cement India’s achievements on polio, so far. She said it is necessary step to eradicate polio virus from the world. She also applauded the Government of India for its commitment to eradicate polio.
Michael McGovern, International PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International commended India for its success in keeping the country polio free, and said that Rotary shall always support its polio eradication efforts.
Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF Representative for India commended the strengthening of India’s immunization programme by introduction of IPV and termed this as a “monumental step”. He reiterated commitment and support of UNICEF in India’s immunization endeavors.