WHO Using New Bivalent Oral Polio Vaccine In Afghanistan
The WHO on Tuesday launched a vaccination campaign in Afghanistan that will useÂ “a new and more effective polio vaccine” for the first time, Reuters reports (Nebehay, 12/15).
“This is a major new tool in efforts to eradicate Types 1 and 3 polio,” the WHO’s Rod Curtis said, VOA News reports.Â “No new cases of Type 2 poliomyelitis have been reported anywhere in the world since 1999,” writes the news serviceÂ (Westpheling, 12/15).
“The bivalent oral polio vaccine, known as bOPV, is made by Europe’s biggest drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline, the first of five manufacturers to be licensed,Â [the WHO]Â said,”Â Reuters writes. The agency also said that because the vaccine is effective against two types of the virus, its useÂ “will vastly simplify the logistics of vaccination in the conflict-affected parts of this country.”
Curtis said the new oral vaccine is expected to beÂ “a critical new tool” forÂ global polio eradication. The WHO is also planning on usingÂ itÂ to vaccinateÂ tens of millions of children in India and Nigeria byÂ the end ofÂ January, he added (12/15).
“From Tuesday to Thursday, polio immunization campaigns in Afghanistan will deliver the new vaccine to 2.8 million children under five in the country’s southern and eastern regions,” according to XinhuaÂ (12/15). Of the current campaign, CurtisÂ noted thatÂ access to children in Afghanistan had improved over the last year, but up to 60 percent of children in Kandahar and Helmand provinces in the southÂ could not be reached because ofÂ insecurity, Reuters writes (12/15).