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Bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV)

Boy receives bOPV in Afghanistan, 2009
Bivalent oral polio vaccine was used for the first time in December 2009 to vaccinate 2.8 million children in Afghanistan
Photo:UNICEF/Cornelia Walther
A vial of bOPV vaccine
The bivalent vaccine is more effective than the traditional oral polio vaccine

Bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) consists of live, attenuated (weakened) poliovirus strains of type 1 and type 3. It simultaneously targets the two remaining types of wild poliovirus (type 1 and type 3) and was developed to improve the efficiency and impact of vaccination campaigns in areas where both types of poliovirus co-circulate.

Bivalent oral polio vaccine was first used in Afghanistan in December 2009, when 2.8 million children under five years old received the vaccine.


Bivalent oral polio vaccine offers the same advantages as OPV. In addition:

  • For both types 1 and 3 polio, bOPV is more effective than OPV and almost as good as the monovalent vaccines, yet in a package that delivers both at once.
  • bOPV allows countries to simplify vaccine logistics and optimize protection.
  • In areas where access to children is limited, using bOPV helps maximise the impact of each contact with a child.


Bivalent OPV is at least 30% more effective than trivalent OPV and almost as good as the respective monovalent OPVs.

Recommended use

It is recommended that bOPV is introduced as rapidly as possible into supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) of all endemic countries and in some outbreak settings. The vaccine is recommended for use in SIAs to complement the ongoing large-scale use of trivalent OPV for routine immunization and SIAs, and the use of monovalent OPVs for SIAs.