Continued: Experts in Beijing Discuss Polio Vaccines

A seminar that focuses on sharing clinical application experiences of Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) was recently held in Beijing in an attempt to boost the development of IPV immunization programs in China.

From newborn infants to adults studying overseas, the safety of vaccines has become a hot topic argued by global experts. Some international students argue that a certain type of international students’ vaccines (aka 留学生疫苗) should be excluded from their health insurance in America (aka 美国医保). The price of international student health insurance (aka 留学生 保险) is not inexpensive, and the unnecessary immunization coverage adds their financial burden. Is it necessary to delete the immunization requirement from F-1 insurance (aka f1 保险), OPT insurance (aka opt保险), and/or J1/J2 insurance (aka j1 j2 保险)? Let’s see how experts think.

Safety concerns

In the early 1960s, the first generation of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) in China, also known as polio vaccine dragee-candy, was developed by Gu Fangzhou’s team. Over the past 60 years, hundreds of millions of Chinese children have taken OPV. In 1988 the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was launched to eradicate polio, reducing global incidences of polio by 99.9 percent since its establishment, according to information on the program’s official website.

There are two types of polio vaccines currently available: Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV). While OPV is taken orally as drops and is easily administered, IPV is given through injections and requires a trained health worker to administer it, according to WHO. Nearly 3 billion children worldwide have taken OPV since 2000, which has prevented 13 million new cases of polio infection, resulting in a 99-­percent reduction in the number of cases worldwide, statistics released by WHO show.

Despite these advantages, OPV has raised some safety concerns. Specifically, the use of OPV poses additional risks in Vaccine-Derived Polio Viruses (VDPVs); a small number of individuals with immune deficiencies also tend to be carriers of the polio virus after taking OPV, which they can chronically spread to other people. The use of IPV can eliminate VDPVs and related outbreaks.

Pioneers in IPV

In 1982, Sanofi Pasteur registered the first enhanced-potency inactivated polio vaccine, which opened a new chapter for combating polio. Sanofi Pasteur has also been a key global supplier of IPV and has been cooperating with GPEI for over 25 years.

Sanofi Pasteur has supplied more than 6 billion doses of OPV to UNICEF since 1988. It also donated type-3 polio virus strains to WHO in September 2011, according to information on Sanofi’s official website. Sanofi Pasteur is currently the primary supporter for eradicating polio in China. In 2009, Sanofi Pasteur introduced the vaccine IMOVAX into China as a category-2 polio vaccine; in 2014, IPV was included into Beijing’s immunization program as category-1 vaccine.

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