By Denis Elamu
South Sudan on Thursday commenced the roll out of it’s second dose of routine Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV2) among children with support from the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI).
A joint statement issued in Juba by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Health Organization (WHO) and South Sudan’s Ministry of Health, revealed that the latest immunization campaign targets over 592, 000 infants at 9 months.
The IPV2 immunization will enable protection of children from paralysis, as South Sudan remains at risk for importation of the wild polio virus and other polio viruses as witnessed with the 58 confirmed cases following the recent outbreak of the circulating derived polio virus.
“South Sudan will provide a second opportunity for infants to receive the injectable inactivated polio vaccine in the ongoing immunization program, such that all infants get 2 doses of IPV to protect them against the polioviruses,” said Elizabeth Achuei Yol, South Sudan’s minister of health.
It disclosed that the second dose of this vaccine has been introduced to increase protection against all three types of polioviruses, adding that the two doses of IPV will ensure adequate protection against all strains of poliovirus.
At least an estimated 2.5 million children received in 2015 their first IPV dose given to children at 14 weeks.
It disclosed that 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 Fabian Ndenzako, WHO Representative in South Sudan.
He added that WHO remains committed to supporting the ministry of health to protect children from life-threatening disease such as disability from poliomyelitis.
Andrea Suley, UNICEF country representative they will support the ministry of health with cold chain equipment, supplies, last mile delivery of vaccines and also motivate parents to vaccinate their children against polio.
“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,” said Suley.
South Sudan is implementing it’s Polio Endgame Strategic Plan 2019-2023.