New Delhi: The Injectable Polio Vaccine (IPV) is more effective than the oral one, experts said here Tuesday.
They emphasised that though the IPV was expensive, it carries the inactive forms of all three strains Type 1, 2 and 3 - of the polio virus, with no risk of virulence.
But the oral polio vaccine (OPV) contains live but weakened form of virus which can give rise to occasional cases of polio.
"IPV is much more effective than OPV in a country like India. Had we adopted IPV earlier, we could have banished polio years ago," T. Jacob John, chairman of the Child Health Foundation, said at the Ranbaxy Science Foundation's 32nd Round Table Conference on "Lessons from the Success of Polio Elimination" here.
Jacob said that though India has successfully combated the menace of polio using oral vaccines, it has to be kept in mind that only the wild polio viruses have been eliminated, while the vaccine-derived polio viruses still remain a threat.
According to the health ministry, IPV will be introduced in India through the universal immunization programme by 2015.
The vaccine will be linked with the global endgame strategy for polio which aims to eradicate the disease by 2018.
N.K. Ganguly, former director general of the Indian Council of Medical Research, said: "For a successful rollout of IPV in the country, the government needs to build capacity and ensure sufficient stocks and logistics. The availability of the vaccine would be a critical factor.
"We also need to build advocacy among the people and have trained manpower ready from the primary immunization field to administer the injections."
The experts also warned against the threat of virus import from Pakistan where the number of polio cases has already crossed 200 this year.
"The threat of virus importation from Pakistan is very real. Though it is now mandatory for everyone from the neighbouring country to take an additional dose of polio vaccine before entering India, measures like IPV can only reduce the risk," Ganguly said.
"It is necessary for India to keep 100 percent immunity status against polio until Pakistan gets polio free. Till that happens, we have to act as if we continue to have polio in our country and fight against it," he added.