South Sudan has reached another milestone by launching second dose of routine Inactivated Polio Vac
By Merio Jimmy South Sudan has reached another milestone by launching second dose of routine Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV2). The immunization services led by the Ministry of Health is supported by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and other partners. The second dose of routine IPV is essential for children’s protection from paralysis in South Sudan, as the country remains at risk for importation of the wild polio virus and other polio viruses as demonstrated by the recent outbreak of the circulating derived polio virus, with 58 confirmed cases, where the Ministry of Health, WHO and UNICEF swiftly responded to reaching approximately 2.5 million children. The second dose of this vaccine has been introduced to increase protection against all three types of polioviruses. Two doses of IPV will ensure adequate protection against all strains of poliovirus. The IPV first dose was introduced in 2015 and is given to children at 14 weeks. The second dose of IPV is recommended at 9 months of age, according to the Republic of South Sudan immunization schedule. “South Sudan will provide a second opportunity for infants to receive the injectable inactivated polio vaccine in the ongoing immunization programme, such that all infants get 2 doses of IPV to protect them against the polioviruses”, said Minister of Health Hon Elizabeth Achuei Yol. “The introduction is a giant step in the country’s immunization programme”. This year the IPV2 introduction aims to reach over 592 000 infants nationwide. The vaccine will be given with other routine immunizations to strengthen children’s immune system against all 3 types of polioviruses, including wild poliovirus and vaccine derived. “The introduction of the routine second dose of IPV will contribute to the reduction of paralysis due to the poliovirus”, said Dr Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative a.i. in South Sudan. “WHO is committed to supporting the Ministry of Health to protect children from life-threatening disease such as disability from poliomyelitis”. “Today, we are witnessing a pivotal moment in South Sudan’s implementation of the Polio Endgame Strategic Plan 2019-2023. UNICEF is committed to supporting the Ministry of Health through our role in providing cold chain equipment, supplies, last mile delivery of vaccines and motivating parents to vaccinate their children against polio”, stated Andrea Suley, UNICEF Representative a.i. “Strong global, regional and country partnerships are critical in the continued efforts for South Sudan to be polio free for all children and future generations.” The IPV injection is safe and free of cost to the caregivers as all costs will be borne by the government and partners.