In a follow-up on the latest polio case in Ukraine last month, the Public Health Center of Ukraine reports the overall polio vaccination coverage was 80 percent in 2021, not enough for the formation of herd immunity.
The lowest level is in Odesa (70%), Zakarpattia (69.8%), Lviv (64.8%) oblasts. The highest is in Sumy (92%), Mykolaiv (91.9%) oblasts, and Kyiv (96%).
Due to the fact that in recent years the level of polio vaccination coverage did not exceed 80%, the country has accumulated a critical mass of children without an immune response to poliovirus, which can only be acquired through vaccination.
In October 2021, the first case of polio in the Rivne region was recorded in Ukraine. According to research at the Regional Reference Laboratory in Helsinki, a one-and-a-half-year-old girl became infected with a vaccine poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2). And in January this year, a second case was reported in a child from Transcarpathia, caused by the same type of poliovirus.
According to the WHO, the spread of the virus will stop if more than 95% of children in the country are vaccinated against polio. So far, only 7 oblasts have come close to this result. In the first ten months of 2021, the actual level in the country was only 53%. After the outbreak was announced, the border areas managed to raise the level, but we still have disappointing consequences.
Ukraine children under 6 years of age who have not received or missed the polio vaccine are at risk. In order to provide each child with individual protection against poliovirus infection, a polio immunization campaign was launched on February 1, 2022.
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