Over 80 million reached as Africa trailblazes novel polio vaccine

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Over 80 million reached as Africa trailblazes novel polio vaccine
22 October 2021
Brazzaville – More than 80 million children have been vaccinated with the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2) in six countries in Africa, the world’s first region to rollout of the vaccine just months after the World Health Organization (WHO) gave it Emergency Use Listing status in November 2020.
Nigeria became the first country in the world to use nOPV2 to tackle an outbreak in March 2021, vaccinating 7 million children in six states. By September, Benin, Congo, Liberia, Niger and Sierra Leone had also rolled out the vaccine. Africa was certified free of wild polio in August 2020, but outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived polio type 2 are still being reported…

The nOPV2 is a modified form of the monovalent oral polio vaccine designed to be more genetically stable and less likely to, in under-immunized populations, revert to a form that can cause permanent paralysis in children from vaccine-derived poliovirus. Given the urgent public health need to address vaccine-derived polio globally, nOPV2 became the first vaccine to receive authorization for use under Emergency Use Listing (EUL). WHO has urged countries to rapidly implement the process for national approval for importation and deployment of the vaccine once it was approved for use.

“Africa’s trailblazing rollout of the novel polio vaccine shows a true determination to ending polio for good. The progress made by the six countries and the upcoming rollout in five additional countries targeting 30 million children by the end of 2021 promise effective and lasting protection from the threat of lifelong paralysis,” said Dr Pascal Mkanda, Polio Eradication Programme Coordinator at WHO Regional Office for Africa…