Uganda is joining 47 other countries in Africa and 155 countries worldwide to switch from the oral polio vaccine to an injectable vaccine in a bid to eliminate polio by 2018.
This means that instead of the four shots of oral polio vaccine that children used to get from the age of two months, they will now get one injection of the virus that will protect them for a life time.
Dr Stuart Musisi, the Masaka District health officer says the current oral polio vaccine creates immunity in the gut unlike the new inactivated polio vaccine which will create immunity in the bloodstream.
“As a first step in this process, the polio programme will withdraw the trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV) and replace it with the bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) in routine immunisation systems around the world. Over the next two weeks, 155 countries around the world will withdraw tOPV from their routine immunisation systems and replace it with bOPV,” Dr Kisakye adds.
To administer the vaccine, an injection in the leg or arm, depending on the patient’s age will be given. It can be given at the same time as other vaccines.
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