The live oral polio vaccine (OPV) was the first vaccine that public health officials used to deliberately infect populations with a vaccine strain virus as a strategy to try to prevent wild type polio infections. In fact, one reason OPV was considered superior to the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) was because it passively revaccinated people coming into close contact with recently vaccinated persons (without their knowledge or informed consent).3 Recipients of OPV-shed vaccine strain virus in urine, feces, saliva and nasal secretions, and in populations where OPV is used, cases of vaccine strain polio paralysis can occur in recently vaccinated persons or close contacts, such as parents changing the diapers of a recently vaccinated baby.4 In 1999, the U.S. stopped recommending OPV for children and switched to IPV to eliminate cases of vaccine strain polio.
The environmental impact of vaccine strain polio virus contaminating water supplies re-surfaced recently in London, U.K. where “vaccine derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2)” was detected and public health officials urged everyone to be “up to date” on polio vaccinations.5 In 2014, Barbara Loe Fisher, co-founder and president of the National Vaccine Information Center (NVIC) and executive editor of The Vaccine Reaction, published a referenced report, The Emerging Risks of Live Virus and Virus Vectored Vaccines: Vaccine Strain Infection, Shedding and Transmission, which reviewed the potential for harm that use of live virus and vectored vaccines could do to humans and the environment.6
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