“At no time in history have we succeeded in making, in a timely fashion, a specific vaccine for more than 260 million people.” Laurie Garrett
By Alex P. Vidal
While the whole world is in mad scramble to avail doses of experimental Ebola vaccines, Ilonggos can now avail of the inactivated injectable polio vaccine (IPV).
Also known as the Salk vaccine, IPV contains inactivated strains of polioviruses 1-3.
Department of Health (DOH) officials assured IPV has no risk of vaccine-related polio.
The introduction of the use of IPV in Western Visayas came as drugmakers around the world plan to work together to speed up the development of an Ebola vaccine and hope to produce millions of doses for use in 2015.
IPV does not stimulate antibody in the gut, so less effective against wild poliovirus, Dr. Alain Bouckenooghe, Sanofi Pasteur associate vice president for clinical research and development and medical affairs told Iloilo reporters in a press conference at Bantayan Resort in Guimbal, Iloilo October 24.
IPV protects only the immunized person and there are no community benefits, he added.
“We are almost near (in our campaign to eliminate polio),” assured DOH Undersecretary Janette Garin, who spearheaded the celebration of World Polio Day in Guimbal, Iloilo.
The Sanofi Pasteur official explained that IPV is given as the diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis/polio vaccine (using a lower diphtheria dose, and without the haemophilus component, in this age group).
The primary course (for those not previously immunized) comprises three doses given one month apart.
A booster dose is given three years after the primary course (the three-year interval can be reduced to one year if the primary course was delayed).
A second booster dose is given 10 years after the first booster (usually given during the teenage years).
The 10-year interval can be reduced to five years if previous doses were delayed.
The DOH and its private partners, Sanofi Pasteur and Rotary Club, jointly announced the introduction of the use of the IPV in Iloilo province.
Oscar De Venecia of the Rotary Club said they will help sustain the campaign to eradicate polio and the clubs’ 24,000 members nationwide are committed to assist the DOH.
The use of IPV will cover the entire Western Visayas and the National Capital Region this year.
The rest of the country will follow suit next year, De Venecia disclosed.
The DOH said the country became the first developing country in Eastern Asia to introduce IPV in routine immunization, following the universal recommendation issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) earlier in 2014.
It is also the biggest developing country in the world to introduce IPV and is expected to be watched closely by many countries which have already announced their intention to introduce IPV, it added.
The universal introduction of IPV, a vaccine that has been used in the majority of the developed world for years, is a necessary step toward achieving a polio-free world by 2018, said Garin.
In her video presentation inside the jampacked gymnasium, Garin explained the Filipinos have an emotional attachment to zero polio that stretches back to the start of mass polio epidemics in the world in the last 19th century.
The first prime minister of the Philippines and a hero of the country’s anti-colonial struggles, Apolinario Mabini, was a polio survivor who lived with lifelong disabilities caused by the disease, she emphasized.
According to the DOH, the last polio case in the Philippines was recorded in 1993.
With the DOH’s sustained effort on the polio eradication initiative, in October 2000 the Western Visayas region of the WHO and all member countries have been certified polio-free.
For a region to be certified as polio-free, there should be no reported cases of indigenous polio three years preceding the certification.