UK health officials are urging the public to ensure their polio vaccines are up to date after traces were found in London sewage for the first time since 1984.
Here’s how to check if you are fully vaccinated against the disease.
Have I had the polio vaccine?
The polio vaccine is part of the UK’s routine childhood vaccine schedule, which means most people in London are likely to of have had it due to previous traces of the disease.
Jane Clegg, Chief nurse for the NHS in London said: “The majority of Londoners are fully protected against polio and won’t need to take any further action,
“but the NHS will begin reaching out to parents of children aged under five in London who are not up to date with their polio vaccinations to invite them to get protected.
“Meanwhile, parents can also check their child’s vaccination status in their Red Book and people should contact their GP Practice to book a vaccination should they or their child not be fully up to date.”
The vaccine is given when a child is:
- Eight, twelve and sixteen weeks old as part of the six-in-one vaccine
- Three years and four months old as part of the four-in-one pre-school booster
- Fourteen years old as part of the three-in-one teenage booster
All three vaccines are required to be fully vaccinated against polio.
How can I get the polio vaccine?
The best way to prevent polio is to make sure you and your child are up to date with your vaccinations.
In order to get the vaccine, simply call up your GP and request.
They can book or rearrange the next available appointment.
Most health care clinics also offer the vaccine such as Superdrug Health clinic and Boots Healthcare.
Polio vaccine is recommended for:
- All individuals, from two months of age as part of the UK routine immunisation schedule
- Travellers to areas or countries where there are recent reports of wild polio (see) and their last dose of polio vaccine was given 10 or more years ago
- Individuals at risk of exposure to polio through their work, e.g. certain healthcare workers and microbiology laboratory staff
Can I still get polio after being vaccinated?
No vaccine provides a level of protection where there is no risk of getting the disease after being vaccinated.
However, two doses of IPV provide 90% immunity (protection) to all three types of poliovirus.
Whereas three doses provide at least 99% immunity.
How long does the polio vaccine last?
The vaccine protects you for 10 years.
You will need a booster to remain protected after 10 years.
And if it’s your first jab, you will need several doses in order to be fully vaccinated.
You should also get a polio booster two weeks before travel, especially to parts of Asia or Africa.