Muscle to skin, polio vaccine set for a shift

Muscle to skin, polio vaccine set for a shift

The Centre is contemplating to change the injecting method of the polio vaccine from intramuscular to intradermal. 

This follows reports that the injectable polio vaccine (IPV) is going out of stock in several hospitals in Bengaluru and elsewhere in the country.

Speaking to Deccan Herald, Dr B P Subramanya, surveillance officer, World Health Organisation said that with several countries across the world introducing the vaccine at the same time there have been reports of unavailability.

He, however,  said that the ministry of health and family welfare is ready with a back-up plan. In Karnataka, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Odisha, the government will ask medical professionals to inject the vaccine in the layers of the skin instead of the muscle.

While the intramuscular dosage consumes 0.5 ml of the vaccine, in the intra-dermal method, it is just 0.1 ml. However, should it be changed to intradermal form, the child will be administered two doses, he said. “It is found to be as effective as the intra-muscular form,” he said.

The first dose of this vaccine is administered when the child is six weeks old. When the child comes for the first dose of the oral polio vaccine and pentavalent vaccine, 0.1 ml of the IPV is administered. After a gap, the second dose is given along with the third dose of pentavalent vaccine and oral polio vaccine 3, when the newborn is 14 weeks old.

These vaccines can be given only in health care set-ups such as primary health centres and hospitals. “It requires skill to inject the vaccine in the skin. Health workers are not trained for it. Hence, only in urban areas and hospital set-ups, this shift would be considered if there is severe shortage,” he added. 

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