Here are some frequently asked questions regarding Oral Poliovirus Vaccination (OPV) requirements for travellers from India:
Is the Oral Polio Vaccination required?
All visitors travelling from India to Kenya, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan are required to undergo a dose of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV).
This requirement is also necessary for travellers coming from polio-endemic (Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan) and countries with poliovirus in circulation following importation (Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Syria) to India.
Since when has this become a requirement?
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has made this a mandatory requirement from March 1, 2014. This development is due to the fact that India has been declared ‘polio-free’ by WHO as no new cases of polio have been detected in the past three years. This also aligns with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s Pulse Polio Programme.
When should I get the vaccination?
Indian residents travelling from India to the seven polio infected countries are required to receive a dose of OPV at least 4 weeks before travel, regardless of age and vaccination status.
Where can I get the vaccination?
Each district in India has designated at least one center where the vaccination with OPV will be provided to travellers and OPV vaccination certificate will be issued. The District Immunisation Officer is the designated official for issue of the OPV vaccination certificate to travellers.
– Andhra Pradesh Polio Vaccination Centers
– Assam Polio Vaccination Centers
– Chandigarh Polio Vaccination Centers
– Chattisgarh Polio Vaccination Centers
– Dadra & Nagar Haveli Polio Vaccination Centers
– Daman & Diu Polio Vaccination Centers
– Delhi Polio Vaccination Centers
– Goa Polio Vaccination Centers
– Gujarat Polio Vaccination Centers
– Haryana Polio Vaccination Centers
– Himachal Pradesh Polio Vaccination Centers
– Jammu & Kashmir Polio Vaccination Centers
– Jharkhand Polio Vaccination Centers
– Karnataka Polio Vaccination Centers
– Kerela Polio Vaccination Centers
– Madhya Pradesh Polio Vaccination Centers
– Maharashtra Polio Vaccination Centers
– Odisha Polio Vaccination Centers
– Punjab Polio Vaccination Centers
– Rajasthan Polio Vaccination Centers
– Sikkim Polio Vaccination Centers
– Tamil Nadu Polio Vaccination Centers
– Tripura Polio Vaccination Centers
– Uttar Pradesh Polio Vaccination Centers
– Uttrakhand Polio Vaccination Centers
– West Bengal Polio Vaccination Centers
Are there any charges for the OPV or the vaccination certificate?
No, it is free of cost.
How long is the vaccination valid for?
Once you’ve received the polio vaccination, it is not required for a period of one year.
I’ve already received the OPV vaccination. Do I have to get it again?
Yes! The majority of people infected with the polio virus do not develop paralysis and remain apparently healthy. However, they are capable of carrying the polio virus in their intestine and spreading it. The polio virus spreads through contaminated food and water. When individuals do not have intestinal immunity, the polio virus multiplies in the gut and is excreted by the infected person.
After receiving the vaccination, the ability of the intestine to prevent multiplication and shedding of the virus decreases over time. Therefore, adults and children who have received the vaccination earlier are capable of multiplication and shedding of the virus.
An additional dose of OPV given at least 4 weeks prior to travel boosts the immunity of the intestine and reduces the chances of the virus being carried by travellers.
I’ve already taken a dose of OPV? Is it safe to take it again?
Is the vaccination safe for children?
I am a foreign resident staying in India (not belonging to one of the polio infected countries). I am planning to visit Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Syria, Nigeria, Afghanistan or Pakistan. Do I have to get OPV?
No, it is not mandatory for you to take the OPV. However, you are advised to take a dose of OPV for your own protection.
I am transiting through one of the polio infected countries. Do I need to take the OPV?
No, passengers in transit through Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Syria, Nigeria, Afghanistan or Pakistan do not have to take a dose of OPV.
I’ve been vaccinated with IPV (Inactivated Poliovirus Vaccine). Do I have to take OPV as well?
Yes, as you need to take a dose of OPV. Individuals who receive IPV are still capable of shedding and multiplication of the poliovirus.
My child received inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) a few days ago? Should s/he take the virus get the OPV?
Yes, it is important for your child to get OPV to boost gut immunity.
My child has received all OPV doses under the regular immunisation schedule. Is it safe for my child to get an additional OPV dose?
Yes, it is safe to give this additional dose of OPV to your child.
Do I need to take a dose of OPV every time I visit a polio infected country?
No, if the travel is within 1 year of taking the dose of OPV. If it is longer than 1 year, you will have to take an additional dose of OPV.
Can I get the vaccination certificate from my doctor or any other medical practitioner?
No, poio vaccination certificate can only be issued by the DIO (District Immunisation Officer) or a center designated by the DIO.
What if I lose my vaccination certificate?
People who lose their vaccination certificate will be considered unvaccinated. You will have to get an additional dose of OPV and get a new vaccination certificate.
Note: The information above is to the best of our knowledge. While we make all efforts to have accurate and reliable details updated here, it is recommended that you cross-check the information with the respective authorities before taking any decisions.