Fiji Launch Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV)

December 17, 2015 – Fiji achieved the milestone of introducing IPV on 17 December 2015 in the routine immunization programme. The introduction of IPVis part of Fiji’s efforts towards completing polio eradication and elimination of all polio disease globally.

The Director of Pacific Technical Support and WHO Representative to the South Pacific, Dr Liu Yunguo (left) and Minister for Health and Medical Services, Mr. Jone Usamate (middle) discuss with EPI nurse at the launching of IPV

While delivering his speech, the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Mr. Jone Usamate said polio, a crippling and fatal infectious disease, can be prevented by safe and effective vaccines. Pacific island countries and areas have maintained polio-free status since the regional certification in 2000. The last case of laboratory confirmed polio in the Pacific was in 1979 in New Caledonia. However, the threat of poliovirus introduction persists while cases of polio continue to occur in other countries. The good news is that looking back at 2015 and ahead at 2016 shows fewer cases of polio in fewer places than ever before.

The Director of Pacific Technical Support and WHO Representative to the South Pacific, Dr Liu Yunguo congratulates Fiji on their commitment and initiative in reaching this milestone. Dr Liu further reiterated that WHO remains committed to support the Fiji Ministry of Health and Medical Services in implementing the National Strategic Plan 2016-2020, where maintaining high level of coverage for immunization services, including new antigens, is a specific objective in the maternal, infant, child and adolescent health priority area.

The optimal use of the different vaccines for the three types of polioviruses to prevent polio transmission is constantly being assessed.

The advantages of introducing IPV into routine immunization, and using it together with Oral Polio Vaccine include:

  • Countries are better protected against polio re-infection or re-emergence
  • Children are better protected from all types of polio disease
  • Eradication of the remaining strains of wild poliovirus transmission will be accelerated.

The one dose of inactivated polio vaccine should be given along with the other vaccines to infants at the age of 14 weeks.

This includes the third doses of Oral Polio Vaccine, Pentavalent vaccine, pneumococcal vaccine and the second dose of rotavirus vaccine.

Evidence has shown that inactivated polio vaccine is safe and effective. No serious effects from vaccination with IPV are reported.

More information
Dr. Jayaprakash VALIAKOLLERI
Technical Officer,
Division of Pacific Technical Support
World Health Organization
Suva, Fiji.
Phone: 679-323 4100
Email: valiakollerij@who.int

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