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Am J Public Health. 2008 Jul;98(7):1322-30. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.122192. Epub 2008 May 29.

The risks, costs, and benefits of possible future global policies for managing polioviruses.

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Kids Risk Project, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Third Floor, Boston, MA 02115, USA.



We assessed the costs, risks, and benefits of possible future major policy decisions on vaccination, surveillance, response plans, and containment following global eradication of wild polioviruses.


We developed a decision analytic model to estimate the incremental cost-effectiveness ratios and net benefits of risk management options for polio for the 20-year period and stratified the world according to income level to capture important variability between nations.


For low-, lower-middle-, and upper-middle-income groups currently using oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), we found that after successful eradication of wild polioviruses, OPV cessation would save both costs and lives when compared with continued use of OPV without supplemental immunization activities. We found cost-effectiveness ratios for switching from OPV to inactivated poliovirus vaccine to be higher (i.e., less desirable) than other health investment opportunities, depending on the actual inactivated poliovirus vaccine costs and assumptions about whether supplemental immunization activities with OPV would continue.


Eradication promises billions of dollars of net benefits, although global health policy leaders face difficult choices about future policies. Until successful eradication and coordination of posteradication policies, health authorities should continue routine polio vaccination and supplemental immunization activities.

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