Polio Eradication Surge Capacity Support
The Task Force has launched a new team called Polio Eradication Surge Capacity Support which is a new addition to global polio eradication efforts. The “surge” in the program’s title refers to the ability and speed of Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) partners to quickly respond to new cases. The time element is critical since an investigation must be initiated within 24 hours after a case has been detected, with a rapid response team deployed within 72 hours and a vaccination campaign to follow within 14 days.
The WHO has designated polio as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). Whenever a new case of wild or vaccine-derived polio is confirmed, it launches a cascade of events, including the involvement of GPEI. This public-private consortium is led by national governments and directed/funded by a collaboration between the WHO, CDC, Rotary International, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Each partner plays a significant role in preventing and responding to outbreaks and collectively, GPEI helps to identify and interrupt virus transmission, as well as strengthen countries’ polio surveillance and immunization systems.
The Polio Eradication Surge Capacity Support Team works under the umbrella of the CDC, which also provides its funding. The Task Force provides additional capacity to support the CDC’s work of halting the spread of polio by providing vaccinations, analyzing surveillance data, and assessing the risk of virus spread.
Nearly every thread of the global public health fabric has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the fight to eradicate polio is no different.
On any given day, when Walter Dowdle, PhD, would walk to work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), he would have a