All children aged 1 to 9 offered a dose of polio vaccine
The government has announced that all children in London aged one to nine will be offered a polio booster vaccination over the coming weeks, following a discovery of poliovirus in sewage in north and east London.
The announcement comes following a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) after further sewage sampling identified eight London boroughs, including Hackney as areas with higher-than-normal levels of polio which indicates that polio is spreading in the community.
Good to know:
- Poliovirus is spreading in the community in North and East London.
- Poliovirus is a life-threatening infection of the nerves that can cause serious disability and even death.
- Poliovirus can be carried without showing any symptoms and easily transmitted from person to person.
- Immunisation is the best protection against this disease.
A targeted inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) booster dose will be offered to all children in London between the ages of 1 and 9 to ensure a high level of protection from polio, which can cause paralysis in the worst cases, and to help reduce further spread of the virus.
The NHS will soon be in touch with parents across London if their child is within this age group, to tell them how and when they will be able to get their vaccination.
Meanwhile, parents of children who have fallen behind with their routine programme of vaccinations (including the first and second doses of the initial polio vaccine, but not including the polio booster), should urgently get in contact with their GP so that they can get protected as soon as possible.
However, parents are asked not to contact health services about polio boosters at this stage, as staff are very busy setting up this vaccination programme.
Although there have been no clinical cases of polio yet recorded across London, we are concerned by the traces of polio virus that have been detected in sewage.
There is no doubt that we have already got an effective polio vaccination programme in the UK, as part of the usual childhood immunisation schedule, but unfortunately there are significant gaps in uptake of vaccinations which have been made worse during the covid pandemic.
It is therefore vitally important that people ensure their children are up to date with their existing vaccinations including polio and contact their GP urgently if they are not up to date.
The NHS will be leading on the local vaccination planning and delivery and we are anticipating further information from the NHS over the coming days. We look forward to supporting our local NHS partners with the vaccine offer to ensure that all our communities can benefit from the protection of vaccination.
General information on polio vaccination is available here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/polio/
For more information on the polio vaccination programme please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/all-children-aged-1-to-9-in-london-to-be-offered-a-dose-of-polio-vaccine