820 Million Novel Polio Vaccinations Completed
To mark World Polio Day on October 24, 2023, supporters from over 30 countries joined the Make Polio History campaign to tell governments that eradication is possible and urgently needed.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are thirty-one countries reporting polio cases in 2023.
The CDC says polio is a crippling and potentially deadly disease that affects the nervous system. Some people have only minor symptoms, such as fever, tiredness, nausea, headache, nasal congestion, sore throat, cough, stiffness in the neck and back, and pain in the arms and legs.
In rare cases, polio infection causes permanent loss of muscle function (paralysis). Polio can be fatal if the muscles used for breathing are paralyzed or if there is an infection of the brain.
Countries are deploying an innovative, novel oral polio vaccine type 2 (nOPV2) to better address the evolving risk of type 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2).
The vaccine is a modified version of the type 2 monovalent OPV vaccine, which clinical trials have shown provides comparable protection against poliovirus while being more genetically stable and less likely to be associated with the emergence of cVDPV2 in low immunity settings.
Thus, nOPV2 can be a significant tool for more sustainably stopping polio outbreaks.
As of October 29, 2023, approximately 820 million doses of nOPV2 had been administered across 35 countries. An additional 16 countries have met the requirements for using nOPV2 in the event of a polio outbreak.
However, the nOPV2 is not authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Since 2000, the only polio vaccine used in the U.S. is the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), which protects against severe disease, including paralysis. IPVs are generally available at clinics and pharmacies in the U.S.