Urgent polio boosters for all London children aged 1 to 9
All children in London aged one to nine are to be offered a polio booster vaccination in coming weeks, following an announcement by the NHS and UKHSA (external link)
The announcement comes following a recommendation from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) after discovery of type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus in sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works earlier this year.
This led to further sewage sampling, which has identified Camden, Islington, Brent, Barnet, Enfield, Hackney, Waltham Forest and Haringey as areas with higher-than-normal levels of the vaccine derived polio.
A targeted inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) booster dose will be offered to all children between the ages of 1 and 9 in all London boroughs to ensure a high level of protection from paralysis 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. Parents are asked not to contact health services about polio boosters at this stage, as staff are very busy setting up this vaccination programme. General information on polio vaccination is available here: www.nhs.uk/conditions/polio/(external link)
Meanwhile, parents of children who have fallen behind with their routine programme of vaccinations (not including this polio booster), should urgently get in contact with their GP so that they can get protected as soon as possible.
Dr Will Maimaris, Director of Public Health at Haringey Council, said: “We are concerned by the vaccine derived polio that has been detected in sewage. There have been no clinical cases of polio yet recorded in Haringey or across London, and the risk of polio remains low, especially for those who are vaccinated.
“We have already got a polio vaccination programme in the UK as part of the childhood immunisation schedule, which has led to the eradication of polio across the country, but there are gaps in uptake of vaccinations in many parts of London 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.
“In addition, children aged 1 to 9 will also be asked to come forward for a further booster polio vaccine in the next few weeks to give extra protection against infection.
“The NHS will be leading on the local vaccination planning and delivery and we are expecting further information from the NHS over the coming days. We will of course support the local NHS with the vaccine offer to ensure that all our communities can benefit from the protection of vaccination.”
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