In recent months, vaccine-derived poliovirus has been detected in sewage in north and east London.
Following this, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) advised that children aged 1-9 years in London should be offered a polio vaccine booster dose.
Health authorities are concerned that if vaccine-derived poliovirus continues to spread it will result in cases of paralysis in unvaccinated individuals. It is therefore of paramount importance that children are up to date with their polio vaccines.
Health authorities around the world declared October 24 2022 World Polio Day to draw attention to the growing threat.
In London the number of children vaccinated is lower than it should be so boosting immunity in children should help protect them and reduce the risk of the virus continuing to spread.
In Lewisham, if your child is aged 1 to 4 you can contact your GP. If your child is aged 5 to 9, you can book a polio vaccination appointment at Lewisham Hospital. (more details on flyer below)
The poliovirus circulating in London is genetically linked to that detected in sewage in Israel and in a paralytic case in New York. The international spread of poliovirus is considered a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation.
The national public health authorities in the UK are therefore taking urgent action to vaccinate Londoners against this virus and to enhance surveillance in other cities.