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July 10, 1996

Switch to Inactivated Polio Vaccine Recommended

JAMA. 1996;276(2):89. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540020011005

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RESISTING what has been described as unprecedented pressure to retain the present schedule of poliomyelitis immunization, which relies entirely on the live virus oral poliomyelitis vaccine (OPV), the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has voted to recommend switching to enhanced inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV) for the first 2 doses of the childhood polio immunization schedule. The oral vaccine will continue to be recommended for the remaining 2 doses of the schedule.

The decision, arrived at after prolonged deliberations (6 public meetings and 2 previous ACIP votes) marks "the most significant change in policy since the introduction of the oral polio vaccine in 1961," says the draft statement on the new recommendations for poliovirus immunization that was approved by the committee. Its recommendation must be accepted by CDC Director David Satcher, MD. Physicians are free to continue using an all-OPV schedule if they wish.