Background: The endgame for polio eradication includes coordinated global cessation of oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV), starting with the cessation of vaccine containing OPV serotype 2 (OPV2) by switching all trivalent OPV (tOPV) to bivalent OPV (bOPV). The logistics associated with this global switch represent a significant undertaking, with some possibility of inadvertent tOPV use after the switch.
Methods: We used a previously developed poliovirus transmission and OPV evolution model to explore the relationships between the extent of inadvertent tOPV use, the time after the switch of the inadvertent tOPV use and corresponding population immunity to serotype 2 poliovirus transmission, and the ability of the inadvertently introduced viruses to cause a serotype 2 circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV2) outbreak in a hypothetical population. We then estimated the minimum time until inadvertent tOPV use in a supplemental immunization activity (SIA) or in routine immunization (RI) can lead to a cVDPV2 outbreak in realistic populations with properties like those of northern India, northern Pakistan and Afghanistan, northern Nigeria, and Ukraine.
Results: At low levels of inadvertent tOPV use, the minimum time after the switch for the inadvertent use to cause a cVDPV2 outbreak decreases sharply with increasing proportions of children inadvertently receiving tOPV. The minimum times until inadvertent tOPV use in an SIA or in RI can lead to a cVDPV2 outbreak varies widely among populations, with higher basic reproduction numbers, lower tOPV-induced population immunity to serotype 2 poliovirus transmission prior to the switch, and a lower proportion of transmission occurring via the oropharyngeal route all resulting in shorter times. In populations with the lowest expected immunity to serotype 2 poliovirus transmission after the switch, inadvertent tOPV use in an SIA leads to a cVDPV2 outbreak if it occurs as soon as 9 months after the switch with 0.5 % of children aged 0-4 years inadvertently receiving tOPV, and as short as 6 months after the switch with 10-20 % of children aged 0-1 years inadvertently receiving tOPV. In the same populations, inadvertent tOPV use in RI leads to a cVDPV2 outbreak if 0.5 % of OPV RI doses given use tOPV instead of bOPV for at least 20 months after the switch, with the minimum length of use dropping to at least 9 months if inadvertent tOPV use occurs in 50 % of OPV RI doses.
Conclusions: Efforts to ensure timely and complete tOPV withdrawal at all levels, particularly from locations storing large amounts of tOPV, will help minimize risks associated with the tOPV-bOPV switch. Under-vaccinated populations with poor hygiene become at risk of a cVDPV2 outbreak in the event of inadvertent tOPV use the soonest after the tOPV-bOPV switch and therefore should represent priority areas to ensure tOPV withdrawal from all OPV stocks.
Keywords: Dynamic modeling; Eradication; Oral poliovirus vaccine; Polio; Risk management; Vaccine-derived poliovirus.