India was the first country to introduce fractional doses of IPV under the childhood immunisation programme in eight of its 36 states and union territories in early 2016
With a global shortage of injectable inactivated polio vaccine (IPV), the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has clammed down on indiscriminate release of the vaccine to dispensaries and health centres – who may hold on to unneeded stock – to prevent wastage of the drug.
Even as several states in India including the national capital Delhi are running short of IPV doses, the union health ministry will now supply vaccines only as per requirements raised by the health institutions. “Dispensaries and health centres are now required to apply for the doses needed,” said Dr Pradeep Haldar, Deputy Commissioner, Immunisation Division, Union Health Ministry.
Dr Haldar, however, insisted that at the moment, India is not facing shortage of vaccines. “India being a Tier-1 country, makes it among highest priority countries for IPV introduction. Hence, there is no shortage in India. What we’ve done is making the supply chain performance-driven instead of stock-driven. We are comfortably releasing one dose per child. We don’t want the dispensaries to hold any vaccines There is already a global shortage of polio vaccines, we cannot afford to waste vaccines,” he explained.
Amid a global shortage of IPV, like India, several countries in the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia Region are opting to use fractional doses of IPV, an evidence-based intervention that not only ensures continued protection of children against all types of poliovirus, but also helps save vaccine wastage.
Fractional IPV is an alternative to the intramuscular injection of a full dose of IPV. It administers a fractional doses (1/5 of the full IPV dose) via the intradermal route (injection in the dermis, one of the layers of the skin).
India was the first country to introduce fractional doses of IPV under the childhood immunisation programme in eight of its 36 states and union territories in early 2016. The initiative is now being scaled up nationwide.
“Studies confirm that two fractional doses (one fractional dose is one-fifth of a full dose) of IPV, given twice to infants – first at the age of six weeks and then at 14 weeks – provide the same protection against all polio viruses as one full dose of IPV. By using fractional IPV, countries are saving vaccine and vaccine cost, without compromising on the protection that the vaccine provides to children against polio,” said Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, WHO Regional Director for South-East Asia.