Jan 18, 2013

Vaccine Switch Urged for Eradication of Remaining Pockets of Polio. An inactivated virus vaccine, delivered by injection rather than orally, could be key to eradicating polio globally.

Vaccine switch urged for polio endgame. Inactivated virus vaccine could deliver the final blow.

By sunrise on a warm December morning, Janila Shulu’s team are out in the dirt roads and alleyways of Ungwan Rimi, a poor neighbourhood in a predominantly Muslim section of Kaduna city in northern Nigeria. Three female health workers, accompanied by a community leader, dart from house to house, squeezing a few drops of polio vaccine into the mouths of all the young children they can find, even those who pass by on the street. By 1 p.m., after giving hundreds of doses, they stop for the day — the first of a national five-day effort.

Such campaigns are the backbone of the global push to eradicate polio, but this month the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, proposed a shift in vaccination strategy from oral vaccines to injected ones that may have to be administered in clinics. The change is needed to mop up the last remaining pockets of polio, but experts say that it poses challenges in places such as Kaduna city, which have poor access to health care. 
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