By Asmau Ahmad
The Federal Government on Saturday said it has introduced the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) aimed at boosting the body’s immunity against type 2 polio virus in Nigeria. The Supervising Minister of Health, Dr Khaliru Alhassan, made the announcement at the National launch of the IPV held in Abuja. He said government has also withdrawn the Oral Poliovirus Vaccine 2 (OPV2) in line with current global practice aimed at mitigating risks associated with the spread of the polio virus. The minister assured Nigerians that the vaccine was safe for use on children less than one year of age.
According to him, a single dose can be administered to children at 14 weeks or at first contact.
“The introduction of the IPV will help fill the immunity gap against type 2 polio virus should it reoccur, thereby reducing the risks of transmission in case of outbreaks. “IPV will also boost immunity against poliovirus types 1 and 3 in children, who had previously received OPV; it could further hasten the eradication of these two wild polio viruses,’’ he said. Alhassan said that only 6 cases of wild polio virus (WPV) had been identified in the country since July 2014.He explained that it was government’s intention to capitalise on the gains to interrupt transmission of polio.
On his part, the Executive Director, National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA), Dr Ado Mohammed, explained government’s efforts to accelerate introduction of new vaccines to reduce child morbidity and mortality. He said the pentavalent vaccine had been introduced into the Expanded Programme on Immunisation schedule since 2014 and Pneumoccocconal conjugate vaccine (PCV) introduction was currently ongoing.
Mohammed said the lessons learnt from the pentavalent vaccine and the most recently introduced PCV in Nigeria would help in the introduction of the IPV.