Author:Dr. P. Siva Bharathi, M.D (Peds), AB (USA).
Polio is caused by a virus which enters the body through the mouth. Sometimes it causes paralysis and when the infection is severe it can even lead to death. Though the number of polio cases have come down drastically in the past few decades. This disease is still a serious threat for children in India.
While polio has been eradicated in many western countries, India continues to figure in the list of countries in which polio still exist. It is very important to vaccinate our children, to protect them from this disease and also to eradicate it altogether
There are two major types of polio vaccine Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV): This is a live, attenuated virus vaccine given as drops via mouth. OPV is better at keeping the disease from spreading to other people and ultimately will help to eradicate this disease form out country. In very rare instance (about one in 24 lakhs), OPV actually causes polio. Since the risk of getting polio from community is very high than from the vaccine, this vaccine is still in use in our country. Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV): This contains killed polio virus and is given as injection. IPV is equally effective and most developed countries have switched to this vaccine.
Indian academy of Pediatrics recommends the following schedule for polio vaccine:
- OPV Zero – Birth
- OPV-1 +IPV-1 - 6 weeks
- OPV-1 +IPV-2 - 10 weeks
- OPV-3 +IPV-3 - 14 weeks
- OPV-4 +IPV-B1 - 15-18 months
- OPV-5 ———— 5 Years
- Those who had a severe allergic reaction to previous dose of OPV vaccine.
- If severely ill
Those who has immune deficiency like HIV/AIDS, Use of steroids (2 weeks or longer), treatment for cancer should check with their doctor before getting OPV vaccine
Intramuscular injections should be avoided for at least 30 days as these have shown to increase the chance of developing paralytic polio..
Pulse Polio was an immunization campaign started by Indian government in 1995 as an effective tool to eradicate Polio disease in India. It involves giving Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) for all children between birth – 5 yrs age, throughout India on the same day. This campaign has been proved to be very successful and the number of polio cases has come down drastically.
“Content Source: Centers for Disease Control and prevention, Indian Academy of pediatrics”