5 February 2014
India: Poliomyelitis vaccination requirement for resident national travellers from countries reporting polio cases - update
On 13 January, 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that India had been polio free for three years . It is anticipated that the South East Asia Region of the World Health Organization will also announce polio free status in March 2014 [2, 3].
India remains vulnerable to the re-introduction of poliomyelitis viruses and is currently implementing measures to minimise this risk. Mass polio immunization campaigns are being implemented .
In addition, as of 1 March 2014, the Government of India will implement a requirement for oral polio vaccination (OPV),given at least four weeks before departure to India, from all resident national travellers from polio endemic (infected) countries (Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan) and re-infected (importation) countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Syria [3, 4]. It is not mandatory for foreign nationals residing in the seven polio infected countries or for passengers in transit through these countries to receive vaccination with OPV before travel to India .
Indian residents who are travelling ‘outbound’ to countries with ongoing polio transmission are also required to receive a dose of OPV at least four weeks before departure. It is not mandatory for foreign nationals residing in India to receive the OPV before travelling on to polio infected countries .
The list of polio infected countries may be amended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, depending on polio virus detection.
All travellers, independent of destination, should have completed a primary vaccination course for polio (inactivated vaccine) according to the UK schedule.
NaTHNaC recommends that travellers visiting countries where cases of wild type polio have been reported since January 2010 (this includes India) should have received a booster dose of polio-containing vaccine if they have not received one within the past 10 years.
Country specific travel health advice for India can be found on the NaTHNaC Country Information Page.
1. World Health Organization. Polio Global Eradication Initiative. India’s Anniversary: Celebrating Three Years Polio-Free [Accessed 5 February, 2014]. Available at:http://www.polioeradication.org/tabid/488/iid/347/
2. World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia. India three years polio-free. 13 January 2014. [Accessed 5February, 2014]. Available at:http://www.searo.who.int/mediacentre/features/2014/sea-polio/en/index.htm
3. World Health Organization. South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO). Keeping the polio virus at bay. [Accessed 5 February, 2014]. Available at:http://www.searo.who.int/india/topics/poliomyelitis/polio_
4. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, Requirements of polio vaccination for International Travellers between India and polio infected countries, [Accessed 5 February 2014] Available at: http://mohfw.nic.in/showfile.php?lid=2634