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The vaccines

The development of effective vaccines to prevent paralytic polio was one of the major medical breakthroughs of the 20th century. With the development and evaluation of bivalent oral polio vaccine in 2009, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative now has an armoury of five different vaccines to stop polio transmission:

Four vials of oral polio vaccine, mOPV3, mOPV1, bOPV and OPV
Four different oral polio vaccines are available to stop polio transmission. From left to right: mOPV3, mOPV1, bOPV and OPV
WHO/Rod Curtis

  • Oral polio vaccine (OPV)
  • Monovalent oral polio vaccines (mOPV1 and mOPV3)
  • Bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV)
  • Inactivated polio vaccine (IPV)

If enough people in a community are immunized, the virus will be deprived of susceptible hosts and will die out. High levels of vaccination coverage must be maintained to stop transmission and prevent outbreaks occurring. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is constantly assessing the optimal use of the different vaccines to prevent paralytic polio and stop poliovirus transmission in different areas of the world.