Health Minister Yael German decided on Sunday to restore the oral polio vaccine
to the regular vaccination schedule given to all babies.
OPV will be
administered in addition to the regular injected polio vaccine (IPV) – nine
years after it was discontinued because the wild polio virus was no longer
considered a threat. German accepted recommendations made by two committees of
experts on Friday.
During the last two months, 850,000 children up to the
age of 10 have been given two drops of the OPV to prevent the spread of wild
polio virus in the environment that apparently reached the south of the country
from someone coming from Egypt. No one has been infected with the paralytic
disease of polio, as more than 98 percent of the relevant population have
already received IPV.
OPV had been removed from the routine vaccination
schedule at the recommendation of the World Health Organization because Israel
and other members of the European division of the WHO were considered
The OPV is given only after children have already received
OPV, an attenuated-virus vaccine, will be given from now on to
newborns after they get IPV. It has not been decided how many doses will be
given and at what intervals.
Ministry officials said there is no risk to
children with weak immune systems because the two types of vaccine together
allow only minimal release of the attenuated virus into the environment over a
period of just two or three weeks.
German said that an additional dose of
OPV would soon be given to children in Beduin settlements in the south because
the wild polio virus there had not yet been wiped out.