Global Polio Eradication Initiative

Eradicating polio and preventing infection by immunizing every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free.
Government 1
Private Foundation or Development Organization 2
Intergovernmental Organizations and Multilaterals 2
  • Interrupt wild poliovirus transmission across the globe through Routine Immunization.
  • Minimize the emergence of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus (cVDPV) through progressive stop of OPV and rapid cVDPV outbreak immunization.
  • Reduce the risk of poliovirus re-introduction through implementation of WHO poliovirus containment policy.

Polio (poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus. It invades the nervous system and can cause irreversible paralysis in a matter of hours. The strategy to eradicate polio is therefore based on preventing infection by immunizing every child until transmission stops and the world is polio-free.

Though this disease has nearly disappeared from the collective consciousness in developed countries, polio is still endemic in three countries (Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan) and outbreaks have surged in several countries due to circulating vaccine derived poliovirus (cVDPV –a mutation of the weakened virus originally contained in OPV).

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is spearheaded by WHO, Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and UNICEF,  with additional support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Sanofi Pasteur, as a leader in polio vaccine development and manufacturing has been a partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative since its launch 30 years ago.

Results and milestones

Over 2.5 billion children have been vaccinated and an estimated 10 million people have been saved from polio-related paralysis.

The number of polio cases worldwide has decreased by more than 99%, from 350,000 in 1988 to 118 (wild PV + cVDPV) cases in 2017. When the initiative was first launched in in 1988, the virus was endemic in 125 countries vs. only 3 today. The last case of polio type 3 was reported in Africa end of 2012.

Sanofi Pasteur has delivered  more than 13 billion doses of OPV since 1989 and 80% of the IPV standalone volume delivered to UNICEF over the 2014-2018 period. Sanofi Pasteur has made significant investments in modern technology to produce very large quantities of IPV in advance of the WHO IPV universal recommendation in 2014.  In addition, Sanofi Pasteur drove a massive regulatory and licensing program in about 100 countries and expert contributions on scientific, program and technical questions for bOPV & IPV vaccines to support the GPEI end game strategy.

Geographic Reach
  • Global Commitment
Disease Area
  • Infectious and Parasitic Disease
  • Women’s and Child Health
See Disease Areas
Target Population
  • Children
Partner organizations

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Private Foundation or Development Organization

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Rotary International

Intergovernmental Organizations and Multilaterals


World Health Organization (WHO)