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Gambia replaces trivalent OPV (tOPV) with bivalent OPV (bOPV)

As part of global efforts to eradicate polio, the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MoHSW) with the support of WHO, Unicef and other partners recently concluded countrywide orientation/training on the cessation of tOPV use in routine polio immunization activities.

This was done in preparation for the commencement of the global switch of replacing trivalent oral polio vaccine (tOPV) with bivalent oral polio vaccine (bOPV) in immunization programmes which started on Monday, 18th April 2016.

It is hoped that this switch will prevent future cases of paralytic polio caused by type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus, provide greater immunity against the other strains of polio, and lay the foundation for inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) becoming the only polio vaccine in use after eradicating polio worldwide

During the exercise, health workers were sensitized on the new initiative and were also requested to surrender old stocks of tOPV and to completely clear their facilities of used vials. The training will also be followed by independent monitoring of health facilities and inspection of cold chains to ensure that tOPV has been completely withdrawn.

Withdrawn vaccines were destroyed at the Medical Research Council (MRC) headquarters in the presence of representatives from WHO, UNICEF, the EPI team and MRC personnel.

This was followed by the distribution of the new bOPV to health facilities with proper recording for documentation.

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