Background: World leaders remain committed to globally-coordinated oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) cessation following successful eradication of wild polioviruses, but the best timing and strategy for implementation depend on existing and emerging conditions.
Methods: Using an existing integrated global poliovirus risk management model, we explore alternatives to the current timing plan of coordinated cessation of each OPV serotype (i.e., OPV1, OPV2, and OPV3 cessation for serotypes 1, 2, and 3, respectively). We assume the current timing plan involves OPV2 cessation in 2016 followed by OPV1 and OPV3 cessation in 2019 and we compare this to alternative timing options, including cessation of all three serotypes in 2018 or 2019, and cessation of both OPV2 and OPV3 in 2017 followed by OPV1 in 2019.
Results: If Supplemtal Immunization Activity frequency remains sufficiently high through cessation of the last OPV serotype, then all OPV cessation timing options prevent circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) outbreaks after OPV cessation of any serotype. The various OPV cessation timing options result in relatively modest differences in expected vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis cases and expected total of approximately 10-13 billion polio vaccine doses used. However, the expected amounts of vaccine of different OPV formulations needed changes dramatically with each OPV cessation timing option. Overall health economic impacts remain limited for timing options that only change the OPV formulation but preserve the currently planned year for cessation of the last OPV serotype and the global introduction of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) introduction. Earlier cessation of the last OPV serotype or later global IPV introduction yield approximately $1 billion in incremental net benefits due to saved vaccination costs, although the logistics of implementation of OPV cessation remain uncertain and challenging.
Conclusions: All countries should maintain the highest possible levels of population immunity to transmission for each poliovirus serotype prior to the coordinated cessation of the OPV serotype to manage cVDPV risks. If OPV2 cessation gets delayed, then global health leaders should consider other OPV cessation timing options.