As previously reported on fitfortravel, India announced on 13 January 2014, that it had been three years since a case of wild polio virus infection had been reported in the country. The Regional Certifcation Commission will certify India as polio-free in March 2014, once laboratory samples for January and February are cleared.
Following discussion with WHO, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, put in place certain requirements to help ensure that India maintains its polio-free status. There is now a requirement for oral polio vaccination (OPV) for international travellers between India and polio-infected countries.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, has recently published full details of the new travel requirements on the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website. The main points of interest include:
- The new mandatory requirement comes into operation on 01 March 2014.
- Polio-infected countries include: (endemic) Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan, (importation) Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Syria. This list may be subject to change.
- Resident nationals of the polio-infected countries listed above are required to receive one dose of OPV regardless of age or vaccination status, at least four weeks prior to departure to India. A certificate of vaccination is required when applying for an entry visa to India.
- It is not mandatory for foreign nationals residing in the polio-infected countries to receive vaccination with OPV before travel to India.
- Indian residents travelling from India to any of the polio-infected countries listed above, are required to receive one dose of OPV at least four weeks prior to departure, regardless of age or vaccination status.
- It is not mandatory for foreign nationals residing in India to receive OPV before travel to any of the polio-infected countries. The Ministry of Health does however, advise a booster with OPV four weeks prior to travel in the individual's own interest.
- Passengers transitting through polio infected countries on the way to India do not need to have an additional dose of OPV.
- The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has included a section on Frequently Asked Questions on the website.
- Polio vaccine recommendations are unchanged on fitfortravel and individual country records should always be referred to.