Update on Vaccine-Derived Poliovirus Outbreaks - Worldwide, January 2021-December 2022

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2023 Apr 7;72(14):366-371. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7214a3.


Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) outbreaks* can occur when oral poliovirus vaccine (OPV, containing one or more Sabin-strain serotypes 1, 2, and 3) strains undergo prolonged circulation in under-vaccinated populations, resulting in genetically reverted neurovirulent virus (1,2). Following declaration of the eradication of wild poliovirus type 2 in 2015 and the global synchronized switch from trivalent OPV (tOPV, containing Sabin-strain types 1, 2, and 3) to bivalent OPV (bOPV, containing types 1 and 3 only) for routine immunization activities in April 2016 (3), cVDPV type 2 (cVDPV2) outbreaks have been reported worldwide (4). During 2016-2020, immunization responses to cVDPV2 outbreaks required use of Sabin-strain monovalent OPV2, but new VDPV2 emergences could occur if campaigns did not reach a sufficiently high proportion of children. Novel oral poliovirus vaccine type 2 (nOPV2), a more genetically stable vaccine than Sabin OPV2, was developed to address the risk for reversion to neurovirulence and became available in 2021. Because of the predominant use of nOPV2 during the reporting period, supply replenishment has frequently been insufficient for prompt response campaigns (5). This report describes global cVDPV outbreaks during January 2021-December 2022 (as of February 14, 2023) and updates previous reports (4). During 2021-2022, there were 88 active cVDPV outbreaks, including 76 (86%) caused by cVDPV2. cVDPV outbreaks affected 46 countries, 17 (37%) of which reported their first post-switch cVDPV2 outbreak. The total number of paralytic cVDPV cases during 2020-2022 decreased by 36%, from 1,117 to 715; however, the proportion of all cVDPV cases that were caused by cVDPV type 1 (cVDPV1) increased from 3% in 2020 to 18% in 2022, including the occurrence of cocirculating cVDPV1 and cVDPV2 outbreaks in two countries. The increased proportion of cVDPV1 cases follows a substantial decrease in global routine immunization coverage and suspension of preventive immunization campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic (2020-2022) (6); outbreak responses in some countries were also suboptimal. Improving routine immunization coverage, strengthening poliovirus surveillance, and conducting timely and high-quality supplementary immunization activities (SIAs) in response to cVDPV outbreaks are needed to interrupt cVDPV transmission and reach the goal of no cVDPV isolations in 2024.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Disease Outbreaks*
  • Humans
  • Poliomyelitis* / epidemiology
  • Poliomyelitis* / prevention & control
  • Poliovirus / genetics
  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral* / adverse effects


  • Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral