Insights From Modeling Preventive Supplemental Immunization Activities as a Strategy to Eliminate Wild Poliovirus Transmission in Pakistan and Afghanistan

Risk Anal. 2021 Feb;41(2):266-272. doi: 10.1111/risa.13471. Epub 2020 Mar 6.


Many countries use supplemental immunization activities (SIAs) with oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV) to keep their population immunity to transmission high using preventive, planned SIAs (pSIAs) and outbreaks response SIAs (oSIAs). Prior studies suggested that investment in pSIAs saved substantial health and financial costs due to avoided outbreaks. However, questions remain about the benefits of SIAs, particularly with the recent introduction of inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) into routine immunization in all OPV-using countries. The mounting costs of polio eradication activities and the need to respond to oSIAs threatens the use of limited financial resources for pSIAs, including in the remaining countries with endemic transmission of serotype 1 wild poliovirus (WPV1) (i.e., Pakistan and Afghanistan). A recent updated global poliovirus transmission model suggested that the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is not on track to stop transmission of WPV1 in Pakistan and Afghanistan. We use the updated global model to explore the role of pSIAs to achieve WPV1 eradication. We find that unless Pakistan and Afghanistan manage to increase the quality of bivalent OPV (bOPV) pSIAs, which we model as intensity (i.e., sufficiently high-coverage bOPV pSIAs that reach missed children), the model does not lead to successful eradication of WPV1. Achieving WPV1 eradication, the global objectives of the GPEI, and a successful polio endgame depend on effective and sufficient use of OPV. IPV use plays a negligible role in stopping transmission in Pakistan and Afghanistan and most other countries supported by the GPEI, and more IPV use will not help to stop transmission.

Keywords: Dynamic modeling; eradication; oral poliovirus vaccine; polio.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Afghanistan / epidemiology
  • Disease Eradication
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Humans
  • Immunization Programs
  • Pakistan / epidemiology
  • Poliomyelitis / prevention & control
  • Poliomyelitis / transmission*
  • Poliomyelitis / virology*
  • Poliovirus / immunology*
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Management / methods*
  • Serogroup
  • Vaccination


  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Inactivated
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral