Bivalent polio vaccine likely to be introduced in India from January 2010 will focus upon kids in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, two states that share majority of the new poliovirus cases registered in 2009.
Vaccinators will specially look for children in slum and in migrant families.
UP registered 503 cases and Bihar registered 107 polio cases while the total number of cases registered in the country from January to November 7, 2009 under the polio eradication programme are 624.
Uttrakhand registered three cases while Rajasthan and Jharkhand recorded lowest one case this year. Delhi had 4 cases.
Bivalent vaccine that has been tested in several countries and also in Pune for its efficacy upon kids is known to protect from two strains of poliovirus (P1 and P3).
“Special focus will remain upon children in urban slums and migrant families since the latest case of polio is from a migrant family of Himanchal Pradesh. The case that came to light on November 17 in UP has confirmed that migrant population need special focus for polio eradication,” said an official of the National Polio Surveillance Programme (NPSP).
At present a special polio eradication drive is going on in ten states in the country viz., Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Punjab, Haryana, Uttrakhand , Rajasthan and West Bengal to cover migrant population.
This drive is with monovalent vaccine and a similar drive will be conducted with Bivalent vaccine on National Immunisation Day to be held early next year. Brick kilns, construction sites and nomadic population sites will get a special attention under the campaign, he said.
The drawback with trivalent vaccine is that it could not build up the desired level of immunity against the viruses in the immunized children.
Special focus will be on transit points like bus stands, railway stations, fairs and other congregation sites. In other states special focus is on migratory population in specific areas.
When asked about the arrival of vaccines Dr SK Jain, director family welfare department Uttar Pradesh said, “The central government is procuring the bivalent vaccines specially for UP and Bihar but we have not got a confirmed date for its arrival. They are expected to arrive next year and as soon as the vaccine arrive kids will be immunized.”
Polio remains endemic in just four countries - Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan - down from 125 countries in 1988. Though states like Uttar Pradesh are close to eradication of polio but threat looms large with the fact that sporadic cases have gone up in comparison to last year's figures.