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October 16, 1996

Decision—but No Unanimity—on Polio Vaccine Use

JAMA. 1996;276(15):1210. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540150012006

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AFTER nearly 10 years of discussion, the final step toward incorporating inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine as part of the routine childhood immunization schedule, has been taken.

David Satcher, MD, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has formally accepted the recommendation of the agency's Committee on Immunization Practices to immunize children with 2 doses of the inactivated vaccine followed by 2 doses of the oral vaccine. At the same time, Satcher said that either the current 4-dose schedule of the oral vaccine or a 4-dose schedule using the inactivated vaccine are "acceptable options for childhood immunization."

The move is being made because of the 8 or 10 cases reported annually of paralytic poliomyelitis associated with the use of the live virus vaccine (JAMA. 1996;276:89).

Scarcely had Satcher announced his decision before renewed expressions of concern about the step came from health organizations representing various minority groups. They include