The differential impact of oral poliovirus vaccine formulation choices on serotype-specific population immunity to poliovirus transmission

BMC Infect Dis. 2015 Sep 17;15:376. doi: 10.1186/s12879-015-1116-4.


Background: Prior analyses demonstrated the need for some countries and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) to conduct additional supplemental immunization activities (SIAs) with trivalent oral poliovirus vaccine (tOPV) prior to globally-coordinated cessation of all serotype 2-containing OPV (OPV2 cessation) to prevent the creation of serotype 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2) outbreaks after OPV2 cessation. The GPEI continues to focus on achieving and ensuring interruption of wild poliovirus serotype 1 (WPV1) and making vaccine choices that prioritize bivalent OPV (bOPV) for SIAs, nominally to increase population immunity to serotype 1, despite an aggressive timeline for OPV2 cessation.

Methods: We use an existing dynamic poliovirus transmission model of northwest Nigeria and an integrated global model for long-term poliovirus risk management to explore the impact of tOPV vs. bOPV vaccine choices on population immunity and cVDPV2 risks.

Results: Using tOPV instead of bOPV for SIAs leads to a minimal decrease in population immunity to transmission of serotypes 1 and 3 polioviruses, but a significantly higher population immunity to transmission of serotype 2 polioviruses. Failure to use tOPV in enough SIAs results in cVDPV2 emergence after OPV2 cessation in both the northwest Nigeria model and the global model. Despite perceptions to the contrary, prioritizing the use of bOPV over tOPV prior to OPV2 cessation does not significantly improve serotype 1 population immunity to transmission.

Conclusions: Immunization leaders need to focus on all three poliovirus serotypes to appropriately manage the risks of OPV cessation in the polio endgame. Focusing on population immunity to transmission to interrupt WPV1 transmission and manage pre-OPV cessation risks of cVDPVs, all countries performing poliovirus SIAs should use tOPV up until the time of OPV2 cessation, after which time they should continue to use the OPV vaccine formulation with all remaining serotypes until coordinated global cessation of those serotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry, Pharmaceutical
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Nigeria
  • Poliomyelitis / epidemiology
  • Poliomyelitis / immunology
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control*
  • Poliovirus / immunology
  • Poliovirus / metabolism
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral
  • Risk Management
  • Serogroup
  • Vaccination


  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral