Uzbekistan introduces new vaccine to protect children from polio
The Ministry of Health of Uzbekistan with support of WHO and UNICEF have jointly introduced a new vaccine in an effort to protect children from poliomyelitis and halt its potential recurrent outbreak in Uzbekistan. The inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine, (IPV) for children aged 4 months aims to stop the spread of the disease globally and has been introduced to the routine immunization schedule of Uzbekistan.
"The introduction of IPV is the result of significant progress achieved by our country in the fight against poliomyelitis," said Alisher Shadmanov, Minister of Health of Uzbekistan. "It means that we have come one step closer to rid the world of this terrible disease, and that we provide the best protection for everyone from this virus."
Global efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis have so far been administered via an oral polio vaccine (OPV). This has helped to reduce the incidence of polio in the world by more than 99 percent due to its ability to stop the transmission of the virus from person to person. Adding a single dose of IPV to several OPV doses is the most effective method of stopping the virus and protecting children.
More than 99% of children have been vaccinated in Uzbekistan against life threatening diseases according to the national immunization calendar, official governmental data shows.
“Although Uzbekistan was designated a poliomyelitis free zone in 2002, the introduction of a new vaccine in the national calendar of immunization marks an important step towards halting the potential recurrence and spread of the disease and ensuring that no child will be paralyzed as a result,” said Sascha Graumann, UNICEF Representative in Uzbekistan. “We are delighted that the Ministry of Health has now made this vaccine readily available and encourage parents to ensure that their children are vaccinated according to the schedule.”
“The addition of at least one dose of IPV to the routine immunization schedule is the best way to protect children in Uzbekistan from lifelong paralysis caused by polio and marks a critical step towards achieving a lasting polio free world,” added Dr. Lianne Kuppens, WHO Representative and Head of Country Office in Uzbekistan.
The widespread introduction of IPV is part of the global polio eradication plan and the consolidation of the gains achieved through strengthening immunization systems so that all children of the world have access to vaccines.
UNICEF and WHO currently provide policy support and technical assistance to the Government of Uzbekistan in strengthening and sustaining the National Immunization Programme. This includes assisting in the introduction of new vaccines, improving vaccine management and building the capacity of vaccinators. Technical assistance also includes facilitating vaccine procurement for routine immunization and the improvement of cold chain facilities which can safely and securely store vaccines.