April | Saturday | 23, 2016 :: India has achieved a historic landmark by eradicating polio from the country. The last case of polio was reported from the country on 13 January 2011 and thereafter India was certified polio free on 27 March 2014.
Although polio has been eradicated from India, neighbouring countries still have active circulation of the polio virus. This poses a threat of the importation of virus to India. Therefore it is imperative to maintain high population immunity through continued polio vaccination and meticulous monitoring to overcome the importation of Polio virus.
Currently Trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV) is being used in polio and routine immunization campaigns in India. It contains all three types of polioviruses – type 1, 2 and 3. Since the wild poliovirus type 2 has been eradicated from the world, there is no need to continue giving tOPV containing polio viruses – type 1, 2 and 3.
Bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) which contains only type 1 and 3 will completely replace tOPV throughout the world. This shift from tOPV to bOPV is called the SWITCH and will be a globally coordinated process.
In India, the National Switch Day will be 25 April 2016, when bOPV will replace tOPV. Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Jharkhand is geared up for the Switch on 25 April 2016. The department has supplied 475,000 doses of bOPV vaccine to all 24 districts. The districts have also prepared a plan to recall and destroy the remaining tOPV in the system as per Government of India guideline.
All tOPV vaccine will be recalled at district level before 24 April and destroyed the same day (24 April). It is mandatory to use only bOPV in the Government Immunization Program, private health facilities and nursing homes across the state from 25 April onwards.