Inactivated Polio Vaccine reintroduced in DPR Korea

Keeping children safe from polio

Elena Cerdan
a baby being treated
UNICEF DPRK

21 May 2018

“I love to see my child healthy and free from diseases,” says Cha Yong Mi, mother of 4 months old Han Ryong Pong at Mirae Dond Polyclinic in DPR Korea. 

“I always make sure I bring him to the clinic to get the vaccinations in time – today is very important.”

For the last 10 years, UNICEF has been providing routine vaccines to around 350,000 children under one year and 355,000 pregnant women, with support from GAVI. 

The DPRK immunization programme introduced IPV into the routine immunization schedule on 12th of April 2015 through Gavi support but the supply was suspended in 2016 due to global availability issues. The supply resumed in April 2018 and the programme re-introduces IPV vaccination nationwide today.

DPR Korea has a very high vaccination coverage of more than 95% across the country. The country was declared polio free in 1997 and there has been no indigenous measles/NNT case for the last three years. The immunization programme has established an excellent cold chain infrastructure with GAVI’s support for ensuring access and equity together with safe storage and transportation of vaccines. Use of innovative temperature monitoring systems further ensures the quality of stored vaccines.

Oyunsaihan Dendevnorov, UNICEF Representative, and Dr. Thushara, the WHO Representative, were present to celebrate the re-introduction of the IPV. Dr. Choe Suk Hyon told the team that “the programme has made excellent achievements and now the sustainability is a real challenge”. Both the representatives assured the Ministry of Public Health of their continued support.