Dear concerned parent from Karachi, Thank you for sharing your concerns regarding multiple doses of polio vaccine that’s administered to children in Pakistan, as part of the country’s effort to eradicate polio. To answer your question in the most straightforward way: it is 100% safe to administer the Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) to children multiple times. Moreover, the vaccine is designed to be administered multiple times to ensure full protection.
The number of doses it takes to give a child a full protection depends entirely on the child & health and nutritional status, and how many other viruses that child has been exposed to.
In high-income countries, children typically require 3-4 doses of OPV to develop immunity against poliovirus. However, multiple studies suggest that in low-income settings, children have reduced antibody response to OPV, which means they often require more than 10 doses of the vaccine to develop immunity against the virus. There is absolutely no risk of overdose in case of multiple vaccinations with OPV. Fully immunized children receiving extra doses of OPV will receive extra protection against polio. The vaccine is administered multiple times to ensure full protection. There is minimal risk of adverse effects from OPV.
OPV is safe, effective and is the essential tool available to protect all children against polio. It has no common side effects and has been used all over the world to protect children against polio.
Over the last 30 years, this vaccine has saved 17 million people around the world from permanent paralysis by polio. Pakistan is now on the brink of winning the war against polio, but in order to do it and secure a polio-free future to children in the country and around the world, all parents must open their doors to vaccination teams and allow for their children to be vaccinated every time the vaccine is offered.
Babar Bin Atta
Prime Minister Focal Person on Polio