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Novel Oral Polio Vaccine Type 2 Gains Endorsements

October 12, 2021 • 12:01 pm CDT
(Precision Vaccinations)

To eradicate polio, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) brings together the latest scientific knowledge on the virus and tracks the status of the virus every week.

Following careful review of the safety and genetic stability data from mass immunization campaigns conducted with the novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2), the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization (SAGE) endorsed on October 11, 2021, the transition to the following use phase for the polio vaccine.

Furthermore, the WHO’s independent Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety (GACVS) and SAGE confirmed no major safety concerns associated with nOPV2.

These decisions mark the end of the vaccine’s initial use period and remove specific use criteria for countries affected by circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) outbreaks.

nOPV2 is being deployed under WHO’s Emergency Use Listing procedure (EUL) to enable rapid field availability. This means more countries will be eligible to use the vaccine under its WHO Emergency Use Listing recommendation.

nOPV2 vaccinations launched in March 2021, and to date, approximately 100 million doses have been administered to children across seven countries.

In addition to those who have already rolled out the new vaccine, sixteen other countries are also verified as ready to use nOPV2 by GPEI, and a further 17 are in the midst of preparations. 

“We are very pleased with the SAGE’s endorsement of transitioning nOPV2 to the next rollout phase. Progress like this is a result of strong partnerships at every level, and we must continue forging forward together, using innovative tools like nOPV2 to reach every last child and end all forms of polio for good,” commented Akhil Iyer, the UNICEF Director of Polio Eradication.

Active cVDPV2 outbreaks are ongoing in more than twenty countries across Africa and Asia, and there have been recent detections of the poliovirus in Europe. 

As of October 6, 2021, Madagascar confirmed one cVDPV1 case and three cVDPV1 positive environmental samples, and Nigeria confirmed 17 cVDPV2 cases.

And the final and official version of the Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-2026: Delivering on a Promise. The executive summary of the strategy has also been made available in all UN languages at this link.

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