Source: NPR Online
By: Beaubien, Jason
The World Health Organization and other foundations recently released a new plan to wipe out polio at a recent vaccine meeting in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. The new Polio Eradication and Endgame Strategic Plan targets the last endemic countries—Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria—for mass immunization campaigns. The plan seeks to boost polio surveillance globally, establish a system for quick response to outbreaks, switch from the ubiquitous oral vaccine to an injectable vaccine, look at how to contain existing samples of the virus in laboratories, and look at how to secure stockpiles of the vaccine in case polio somehow comes back. The program will cost $5.5 billion over six years. Some 650 cases of polio were reported worldwide in 2011, the number fell to 223 last year, and there have been fewer than 20 so far this year.