Ukraine Declares Biological Emergency Regarding Polio Outbreak

Polio outbreak in Ukraine related to Afghanistan
ukraine children in costume
Ukraine (Precision Vaccinations News)

An extraordinary meeting of the Ukraine Regional Commission for Technogenic and Environmental Safety and Emergencies of Rivne Regional State Administration was held on October 9, 2021, to reduce the spreading of the poliovirus.

The Ukraine Ministry of Health reported on October 7, 2021, a case of acute flaccid paralysis, caused by poliovirus type 2, in an unvaccinated 18-month-old child from the Rivne region, Ukraine.

According to the Commission’s decision, this polio situation is now classified as a biological emergency on a regional scale. 

Furthermore, the Emergency Situations Commission decided that children unvaccinated against polio will not be admitted to school.

Within 14 days, from October 11 to 22, 2021, the Rivne region will be an immediate "zero" round of vaccination using IPV vaccine for children under five years, regardless of previous vaccination in the area where the initial polio case was recorded.

The next polio vaccination rounds will last for 90 days and will cover the entire unvaccinated population.

“Given the (new) case of polio, we now have to make an additional tour and vaccinate all children in the region to protect the children from infection,” said Deputy Minister of Health - Chief State Sanitary Igor Kuzin, in a press release. 

“Only 53% of children under the age of one received routine vaccinations in 2021.”

Low vaccination levels are reported in most regions of Ukraine.

Moreover, Ukraine believes it has a sufficient number of effective IPV vaccines that are purchased from the state budget.

Ukraine previously declared a polio emergency in 2015.

The U.N. health agency recommended that Ukraine “respond to the polio outbreak as quickly and effectively as possible,” Dorit Nitzan, head of the WHO’s office in Ukraine, told AP journalists on December 1, 2015. 

In addition, “we have results from the WHO, which identify it as an outbreak and the poliovirus is associated with viruses of Afghan-Pakistani origin,” added Kuzin.

According to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative reporting on October 6, 2021, Afghanistan has confirmed forty-three circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) cases in 2021. 

However, there were 308 cVDPV2 cases reported by Afghanistan in 2020.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed that Afghan nationals who are paroled into the United States must take vaccinations for polio, amongst others, as conditions of their humanitarian parole in local communities.

Following the introduction of polio vaccines in the USA, the trivalent inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) in 1955, and trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) in 1963—the number of polio cases fell to fewer than ten in the 1970s.

Since 1979, no cases of polio have originated in the USA. However, the virus has been brought into the country by travelers with polio. 

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a disabling and life-threatening infectious disease caused by the poliovirus, says the U.S. CDC. The poliovirus spreads from person to person through feces and saliva, most often through dirty hands, infected food, and water.

Most people who get infected with poliovirus will not have any visible symptoms.

However, every unvaccinated person can get polio. 

But children under the age of five are most susceptible to the poliovirus. Therefore, children receive their first polio vaccination in the first months of life.

Ideally, children should receive a vaccine dose at two months, four months, 6 through 18 months, and then a booster dose at age 4 through 6 years, says the CDC.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative continues assessing the optimal use of the different types of vaccines to prevent paralytic polio and stop poliovirus transmission.

Since 2000, an inactivated polio vaccine, IPV, has been most often given in the USA.

As of October 12, 2021, the U.S. CDC’s Travel Advisory for Ukraine suggests visitors are vaccinated for several diseases, including polio.

An updated listing of polio vaccines is published on this webpage.  

PrecisionVaccinations publishes fact-checked research-based vaccine news.


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