All children under 11 in London to be offered polio vaccine

All children under 11 in London to be offered polio vaccine thumbnail

Vaccinations against polio will be given another push in London in another attempt to curb the spread.

Every child aged one to 11 will be offered jabs as part of a catch-up campaign during the summer.

Health officials warned last year that there had been ‘some transmission’ in the capital detecting the virus in sewage in north and east London during routine inspections

As vaccine rates in some boroughs is still too low, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced that booster jabs will be offered to primary school pupils.

Polio, which was officially eradicated in the country in 2003, can cause paralysis in rare cases and be life-threatening.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at the UKHSA said: ‘While there are early signs of reduced spread of the poliovirus in London, we need to continue to improve uptake of childhood vaccines in all communities.

‘Until we reach every last child, we cannot be sure that we will not see a case of paralysis.

‘Even a single case of paralysis from polio would be a tragedy as it is completely preventable.

‘Only by improving vaccination coverage across all communities can we ensure resilience against future disease threats.’

Children will be vaccinated at primary school or community clinics, and there will be a focus on communities with the lowest levels of uptake, the UKHSA said.

Figures show 87.6% of children in London are receiving all their polio vaccinations by the time they turn one, compared to 92.1% in England as a whole.

Uptake for the pre-school booster for children aged five is even lower at 69.9% in the city compared to 83.4% in England.

The campaign comes after a total of 135 poliovirus type 2 isolates were identified in 30 sewage samples collected in London between February 8 and November 8 last year.

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