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Vaccine. 2019 Apr 17;37(17):2394-2400. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2019.02.038. Epub 2019 Mar 14.

Successful switch (tOPV to bOPV) in India: Tribute to a resilient health system.

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National Certification Committee for Polio Eradication, New Delhi, India.
National Certification Committee for Polio Eradication Secretariat, New Delhi, India.
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, New Delhi, India.
SEARO WHO, New Delhi, India.
National Polio Surveillance Project, New Delhi, India.
National Certification Committee for Polio Eradication, New Delhi, India. Electronic address:


In accordance with the end game strategies for polio eradication a synchronized switch plan from tOPV to bOPV was implemented globally in 2016. The National Committee for Polio Eradication (NCCPE) validated the switch activities in India. An expert group of 104 academics conducted field visits in 25 states and 2 Union territories for independent verification (after an initial round of verification by the National Polio Surveillance Project [NPSP]). The objectives were to validate withdrawal and disposal of tOPV by screening cold chain points in public and private sector health facilities in both rural and urban areas; additionally, availability of bOPV and IPV was also documented. 34 filled tOPV and 5 empty vials were detected inside cold chain equipment and 17 outside. The disposal mechanism was found to be reasonably adequate. The key strategies -- 'throttling' of vaccine supplies well ahead of the switch date while preventing stock outs at various immunization points, simultaneously working with the regulators to delicense the tOPV on the switch date and helping manufacturers to calibrate vaccine production according to national timelines, and strong and persistent advocacy with professional associations to align with national bOPV and IPV policy facilitated successful accomplishment of the switch process. Effective implementation of the switch strategy in India also bears testimony to the resilience of the health system operating under diverse and heterogeneous governance.


Switch strategy; Validation; bOPV; tOPV

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