Home India News Pratibha Patil launches bivalent polio vaccine in India

Pratibha Patil launches bivalent polio vaccine in India


New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil Saturday launched a new round of the national polio immunization campaign with a bivalent vaccine that is capable of simultaneously controlling two strains of the virus.

Beginning Sunday, the vaccine will be administered throughout the country, barring Uttar Pradesh, where it will be introduced in the next round.

The vaccine is being introduced for the first time in India. Earlier, separate rounds of immunization vaccines were being administered to tackle the P1 and P3 strains. While P1 is the wild strain, P3 is the less virulent form. Both strains are active in India, primarily in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Patil launched the campaign by administering polio drops to 10 children at the Rashtrapati Bhawan here.

Speaking on the occasion, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said about 2.5 million kids will get the new drops Sunday.

In 2009, at least 721 cases of polio were reported, of which 641 were P1 and 79 P3 cases. One case was a mix of both viruses.

Of the total cases, Uttar Pradesh accounted for 571 cases, followed by Bihar, where 114 cases were reported last year.

There are three strains of wild polio virus – P1, P2 and P3. The P2 wild polio virus was eliminated in 1999. Efforts are being made to eradicate P1 and P3 also.

The Pulse polio programme was started in India in 1995 with the objective of eradicating polio. Prior to the start of the campaign, the number of paralytic cases due to polio was in the range of 50,000 every year.