Immune response to an intercalated enhanced inactivated polio vaccine/oral polio vaccine programme in Israel: Impact on the control of poliomyelitis

Tiberio Alex Swartz*, Rachel Handsher, Yossef Manor, Philippe Stoeckel, Adaya Barkay, Ella Mendelson, Alex Leventhal

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A combined enhanced inactivated polio vaccine (EIPV) and oral polio vaccine (OPV) programme was introduced in Israel in 1990, with the purpose of providing a solution to the persistent polio morbidity in spite of a 30 year long OPV programme. The schedule comprised two doses of EIPV administered at the age of 2 and 4 months, intercalated with two doses of OPV at 4 and 6 months, followed by a reinforcing dose with the two vaccines simultaneously administered at 12 months. The 5-year evaluation of the programme included: the assessment of clinical suspicions of polio, early immune response in successive cohorts administered the new schedule, dynamics of the immune profile in a cohort followed up to the age of 5, and monitoring of wild poliovirus excretion in sewage specimens collected in 25 permanent sites throughout Israel as well as from the Palestinian Authority. No paralytic polio cases associated with a wild or vaccinal poliovirus strain were detected since the introduction of the programme. At the age of 4 months, one week after administration of the second EIPV and first OPV dose, 100% seropositivity and high geometric mean titres (GMTs) of neutralizing antibody (NA) to the three vaccinal and to the wild poliovirus type 1, responsible for the 1988 polio outbreak, were observed. No change in percent of seropositivity occurred between the age of 6 and 12 months. Thirty days after the IPV and OPV reinforcing doses, GMTs to each of the four poliovirus strains were ≤3037. Up to the age of 5, the seropositivity was unchanged. After a 2.5-10-fold decline in the first year following the completion of the programme, GMTs to the three vaccinal and the wild poliovirus strain levelled off at rather high values, considered protective. Between 1990 and 1995, 16 wild poliovirus type 1 strains were isolated in three separate episodes in Gaza Strip sewage and once only in one Israeli site very close to Gaza City. The rapidly established, high and persistent NA titre to the vaccinal and wild poliovirus strains and the presence of immunological memory are indicative of high individual protection throughout the first 5 years of life. The only one-time introduction, without circulation, of a wild poliovirus strain in a single Israeli settlement suggests community protection. The intercalated programme offers a contribution to polio eradication by providing a solution to the primary and secondary failure associated with OPV, as well as to the control of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2090-2095
Number of pages6
Issue number20
StatePublished - Dec 1998
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
Ministry of Health, State of Israel


    • EIPV/OPV combined vaccination
    • Poliomyelitis control
    • Poliovirus vaccine efficacy


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