The Department of Health (DOH) today introduced the Inactivated Polio Vaccine (IPV) as part of the expanded program on immunization for children in ceremonies held in Paranaque City.

Republic of the Philippines

The IPV (injected intramuscularly) will be given in health centers in addition to the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) drop when a child is fourteen (14) weeks old.

“The introduction of inactivated polio vaccines will allow us to improve the protection of Filipino children against polio and maintain our polio-free status in the country,” Health Secretary Enrique T. Ona declared.

The IPV protects against polio type 1 and 3 and outbreaks of wild or vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 while the OPV is effective only against the wild poliovirus.

The inclusion of IPV is part of the country’s response to the Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan 2013-2018 that was drawn up after the May 2012 World Health Assembly declaration that the completion of poliovirus eradication is a programmatic emergency for global public health.

In the Philippines, the last recorded wild Polio virus case was in 1993. In 2000, the World Health Organization certified the Western Pacific Region, of which the country is part of, polio-free.

However, the Philippines is still a high-risk country for polio importation because of its highly mobile population, the presence of numerous airports, seaports, and other ports of entry, the presence of areas with low immunization coverage, and inadequate reporting of cases.

“The DOH recognizes immunization as a key element in reducing the burden of childhood mortality and morbidity and the inclusion of the IPV boosts our children’s health and immunization programs,” the health chief concluded.