OPV Vaccine

The polio virus attacks the patient's nervous system, and this may lead to paralysis or even death if not checked. The oral polio vaccine is generally given to children and newborns upto the age of 5 years.It should not be given to adults and immunosuppressed children. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended the oral polio vaccine to fight poliomyelitis. Poliomyelitis occurs mainly in children. Its symptoms are fever, stiffness and pain in the neck, and weakness in the limbs. 

What is the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV)?

OPV, or Oral Polio Vaccine, is a vaccine administered for the prevention of Poliomyelitis. This vaccine is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Poliomyelitis is an infectious disease that is caused by the poliovirus. The virus intercepts the patient's nervous system, which may lead to paralysis or even death. The poliovirus spreads through the mouth when one consumes food or water contaminated by the faecal particles of a polio-infected person. Some of the common symptoms of polio include fever, headache, fatigue, vomiting, stiffness in the neck pain, and weakness in the limbs. 



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How Much Does the OPV Vaccine Cost?

In India, the OPV vaccine price ranges from around ₹187 to ₹275 per oral shot. The first dose of the OPV vaccine is given to a child at birth, followed by 3 more doses at 6, 10, and 14 weeks after birth. 2 booster doses are also administered to a child, one at 16-24 months, and the second at 5 years of age.


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Why is the OPV Vaccine Important?

Poliomyelitis is contracted predominantly by kids that could lead to permanent paralysis of their body parts and ultimately cause death due to immobilisation of breathing muscles. Almost 1 in every 200 persons affected by polio suffers from irreversible paralysis of the legs.

Among those paralysed, 5-10 percent suffer death when their breathing muscles are immobilised by the poliovirus. As poliomyelitis has no cure, immunisation is the only way to prevent it and the polio vaccine has been instrumental in the eradication of polio cases across the globe.

Is the OPV Vaccine Really Effective?

On March 27, 2014, India was declared ‘Polio Free’. The OPV vaccine played an instrumental role in this achievement. The Oral Polio Vaccine has proven to be very effective in preventing poliomyelitis. The OPV vaccine helps the immune system to produce antibodies against types 1,2, and 3 of the poliovirus.

How is the OPV Vaccine Administered in India?

  • National Immunisation Programme

The Oral Polio Vaccine schedule for all children needs to be in sync with their National Immunisation Programme.

  • Easy to Administer Doses

The OPV vaccine is easy to administer even without a trained health worker and is designed to be given multiple times to ensure complete protection from poliovirus.
Usually, after being given 4 doses of OPV vaccine as per the OPV vaccine schedule, a child secures protection against polio.

  • Additional Doses for Children in Tropical Areas

In tropical areas and areas with poor sanitation and hygiene conducive to the spread of the poliovirus, additional doses of Oral Polio Vaccine are administered to the children in line with the OPV vaccine schedule. Each additional dose provides enhanced protection and strengthens the immunity of the child against polio.

Is There More Than One Type of OPV Vaccine Available?

Yes, as per WHO data, there are three main categories of OPV vaccine - Monovalent OPVs, Bivalent OPVs, and Trivalent OPVs. Many countries use the trivalent OPV (tOPV) for routine and supplemental vaccination. The Monovalent and Bivalent OPVs against type 1 and type 3 are licensed for use in endemic countries.

Who Should Get the OPV Vaccine?

OPV vaccine dosage can be given to the below-stated categories of population:

  • The Oral Polio Vaccine dose is usually given to newborns and children up to 5 years of age.

  • A zero dose of OPV vaccine should be administered to the newborns within the 15 days of their birth, with the day of birth considered as zero.

  • A zero dose is deemed as an extra dose that boosts the low immunity of newborns.

  • A zero dose of OPV vaccine is followed by three primary doses at 6 weeks, 10 weeks, and 14 weeks to the newborns as per the Oral Polio Vaccine schedule.

  • OPV vaccine dosage can also be safely administered to sick newborns and infants.

  • Even if the child has received the age-specific and recommended vaccines as part of routine immunisation programmes, additional doses should be administered as part of national immunisation programmes and pulse polio campaigns.

Who Should Not Get the OPV Vaccine?

OPV Vaccine Dosage cannot be administered to the following categories of people:

  • Adults and Immunosuppressed children

The Oral Polio Vaccine dose should not be given to adults and also to children with severe immunosuppression.

  • Cases of Severe Acute Febrile Illness and Diarrhoea

The OPV vaccine dose must be delayed in the event of severe acute febrile illness. In case of diarrhoea or vomiting when OPV vaccine is given to the child, administer the usual dose along with an extra dose once the gastrointestinal trouble is gone.

Are There Any OPV Side Effects?

  • Largely Zero Side Effects

There are no common side effects of taking the OPV vaccine among children in general, and over the last two decades, it has saved 5 million children from permanent paralysis caused by polio.

  • Vaccine-Related Paralytic Polio

However, an extremely small risk associated primarily with the first dose of the OPV vaccine is that the live attenuated virus can cause paralytic polio cases.

  • Aseptic Meningitis or Encephalitis

After administering the OPV vaccine, cases of Aseptic Meningitis or Encephalitis have been reported in immunodeficient infants on rare occasions.

Summing Up

The OPV vaccine has proved to be a boon for children under the age of 5 years who are under a constant threat of polio infections. Besides, the success of the Global Polio Eradication Programme has re-emphasised the importance of vaccination from an early age. In addition, opting for a good health insurance policy that covers the cost of expensive medical treatments is important to be fully secured. So, if you still haven’t opted for a health insurance plan, do it now! Browse through the health insurance plans available at Bajaj Markets that offer various benefits such as cashless claim settlements, reinstatement benefits in case you exhaust your sum assured amount, extensive coverage, and so much more.

FAQs on OPV Vaccine

What is the full form of the OPV vaccine?

OPV stands for Oral Poliomyelitis Vaccine, also known as Oral Polio Vaccine.

OPV vaccine is used for which disease?

OPV is a vaccine used for the eradication of polio. This vaccine is recommended by WHO.

OPV is which type of vaccine?

OPV is an oral vaccine administered to children for prevention of poliovirus.

What are the uses of the OPV vaccine?

OPV vaccines are used for the prevention of poliomyelitis or polio.

What is polio?

Poliomyelitis, also known as polio, is an infectious disease that is caused by wild poliovirus. This virus invades the patient’s nervous system and can lead to paralysis or even death.

Is there any cure for polio?

Unfortunately, as of now, there is no cure for polio. This disease can only be prevented through immunisation.

What if my child misses a dose of OPV?

In case of a missed Oral Polio vaccine dose, you must consult your regular paediatrician and discuss how to proceed further.

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