Board of the Vaccine Alliance, Gavi, says it will extend support for introduction of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to 2020 in some 70 low- and middle-income countries. The support is to help routine immunisation programmes reach millions more children with polio vaccine and support a final drive toward eradiating the disease. “We now have a unique opportunity to consign polio to the history books, but we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Gavi board chair. “We cannot and will not rest as long as any child anywhere in the world is at risk of contracting this terrible disease. Gavi fully supports the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and partners, and this decision means we will continue to work together as we edge ever closer to a polio-free world.” An initial 2018 target date to certify eradication of polio has been pushed back to 2020 with transmission of wild polio virus still ongoing in pockets. Five wild poliovirus cases have been recorded since the beginning of the year: three in Afghanistan and two in Pakistan—both countries, alongside Nigeria, where the disease remains endemic. Some 53 countries have introduced IPV in their immunisation programme, but constraints in supply have delayed introduction or interrupted IPV use in some countries.Extending support for IPV to 2020 is projected to hit $250 million. Additional funding is expected raised by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and by existing funds from Norway, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Gavi said in a statement. “We will need to evaluate Gavi support to IPV beyond 2020 to make sure that the disease doesn’t re-emerge after global certification,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi the Vaccine Alliance.

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