Why are children in London being offered a polio dose?
There are signs the virus is spreading in London and the number of children vaccinated in London is lower than it should be. Boosting immunity in children should help protect them and reduce the risk of the virus continuing to spread.
How can my child get the polio booster?
Text messages and letters GPs and NHS South West London have been sent to parents of 1 to 9 year olds inviting them to book a vaccination appointment for their child or children.
Parents with children aged between 1 and 4 will be offered an appointment at their GP practice.
Parents with children aged between 5 and 9 years old can book an appointment at a vaccination clinic.
When would my child have been vaccinated against polio?
The polio vaccine is free and given as part of combined jabs to babies, toddlers and teenagers. Children need all five doses of the vaccine to be fully protected against polio. The polio vaccine is given when a child is:
Is this an extra jab? Will children that need to catch up with their missed routine vaccinations then get an additional dose on top of that?
We need to protect children against polio now. Bringing a child up to date now will achieve the same effect as the offer of an additional booster.
For children that are fully up to date with their routine vaccinations, this will be an additional polio vaccine to enhance their protection against polio whilst it is being detected in wastewater samples. If your child is not up to date with their routine vaccinations, they will be given a catch-up dose so it will not be an additional dose.
What should people do to protect themselves against polio if they live in London?
In London, all children aged 1 to 9 years need to have a dose of polio vaccine now – whether it’s an extra booster dose if they are up to date with their routine vaccinations or the next dose in their routine vaccination schedule. The NHS in London will contact you when it’s your child’s turn to come forward for a booster or catch-up polio dose.
Has polio been detected outside of London?
Type 2 poliovirus has so far only been detected in North and East London. The UKHSA, working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), has enhanced the sewage surveillance to assess the extent of spread of the virus. They plan to stand up 10 -15 sites nationally to determine if poliovirus is spreading outside of London.
Can I get polio from the polio part of the vaccine?
The combined vaccines contain dead (inactivated) polio virus, which cannot cause polio.
What are the side effects of the vaccine?
Your child may have some redness, swelling or tenderness in the arm where they had the injection, this will usually disappear in a few days.
A hard lump may appear in the same place but this will also resolve on its own, usually over a few weeks. Occasionally, children may be unwell and irritable and develop a temperature and a headache.