Why is that the Polio vaccine mandatory for all children below 5 years in India?
Polio virus is extremely infectious and it spreads through fecal oral routes in nations where sanitation facilities are poor. Wild polio virus infects a susceptible young child, when he eats improperly handled, fecal contaminated food. Virus multiplies inside the intestines of an infected child. The kid keeps shedding the virus continuously through feces, making other children sick too. It’s important to deprive the virus from it’s susceptible hosts through vaccination. In the case of Polio, herd immunity plays an important role. This can be achieved when the whole community develops immunity to the virus. Young children are given repeated vaccination on all Pulse polio days to offer them complete immunity to Polio disease. Oral Polio vaccine is mandatory for all children below 5 years under routine immunization programs.
How has the Polio situation improved after vaccination?
In the pre-vaccination era, 1 in every 200 children suffered from Polio. Vaccination has helped immensely to reduce the cases and even eradicate Polio altogether from major parts of the planet . The World Health Organization (WHO) has certified India as a Polio free nation on March 27, 2014.
Polio oral drops and injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine should be given to all the children below 5 years to get complete immunity from Polio virus.
Why is Polio considered a serious disease?
Polio causes permanent paralysis in the infected young children. Most polio-infected people (~ 90%) have no symptoms. They are just carriers. Others, 10% will have initial symptoms of fever, fatigue, vomiting, headache, stiffness in neck and limbs pain, finally leading to paralysis. Polio is a debilitating disease which has no cure at all. Heat and physical therapy, along with antispasmodic drugs are used to alleviate the symptoms, but nothing can reverse the permanent polio paralysis. Prevention is the only savior. Hence, the Polio vaccine is mandatory for all children below 5 years.
Why is Polio vaccine mandatory even after eradication of Polio?
In India, Polio has been eradicated.But the danger of Polio outbreaks still looms due to neighboring Polio affected countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan. Polio vaccination drive is important to curb the circulation of wild poliovirus between boundaries. This must be done till Polio disease is completely eradicated from the entire planet. Polio vaccine is mandatory for all children below 5 years in all Polio affected countries and their neighboring countries.