The path towards polio eradication over 40 years of the Expanded Program on Immunization in the Americas


This article synthesizes the important lessons learned from polio eradication in the Region of the Americas, including initial and more recent challenges and best practices, as well as particular factors surrounding attainment of this ambitious goal. Using documents, interviews, and country surveys, the authors describe and analyze the strategies and lessons learned during the 40 years of the Expanded Program on Immunization (1977 – 2017). Some major milestones and challenges specifically covered are: the Vaccine-derived Poliovirus (VDPV) outbreak in the Dominican Republic; the regional “mop-up operation;” poliovirus containment in essential facilities; the unprecedented introduction of inactivated polio vaccine (IPV); the synchronized switch from trivalent to bivalent OPV; and the countries’ unfailing commitment to the cause.