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Is IPV better than OPV?

Q: My son is five months old. His paediatrician has given us brochures on IPV and Vaccine against pneumococcal disease (brochure produced by Wyeth). My son is being vaccinated as per the normal vaccination routine that includes OPV, DPT, Hib, Hepatitis B, MMR, Measles, Typhoid, etc.Should IPV and vaccine against pneumococcal disease be given in addition to the normal vaccination routine? Are they better and provide more protection than the normal range of vaccines?

A:Injectable polio vaccine (IPV) is made from dead polio-organisms and given as an injection in contrast to oral polio vaccine (OPV), which is made by live but attenuated (impotent) polio virus and given orally. In comparison to OPV, the protective efficacy of IPV is marginally better and the chances of any side effects are virtually nil. However, it is a much more expensive vaccine than OPV, and if a course is started with IPV instead of OPV, it is desirable to complete the course with IPV. Most of the developed countries have switched over to IPV from OPV. You could take the decision according to your economic considerations. Pneumococcal vaccine protects against Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria, which in young children can cause pneumonia and meningitis, and the incidence of these diseases is higher in developing countries. However, as the vaccine has just been introduced, it is very costly and a full course of four doses costs about Rs. 16,000. If you can easily afford this cost, this may be an insurance worth opting for. However, if you cannot, do not lose sleep over it.


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