The polio vaccine booster

Written by Dr Martin Gray

August 28, 2022

In January 2022, poliovirus was detected in London’s sewage system, specifically at the Beckton Sewage Treatment Works. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) were alerted together with the Medicines and Healthcare product Regulatory Agency (MHRA). They have continued to monitor poliovirus and have recently expanded the search outside of London. The source is still uncertain but given that polio vaccination rates in some London communities are low, below 90%, there is concern that there may be a re-emergence of cases in the city.

For this reason, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) have recommended that all children aged one to nine in London have an extra booster dose of the polio vaccine. You will be contacted by the NHS, and your child will be offered this booster.

My child is fully immunised. Do they need a booster? 

The recommendation is that your child does get this additional booster for three reasons: –

  • The vaccination rate in some parts of London is relatively low
  • Boosting your child’s immune response to polio will further reduce the risk to your child of permanent paralysis
  • Increasing the number of children who are immunised will reduce the likelihood of further spread of poliovirus

Helpful information is available from the government website; Have your polio vaccine now – information for parents

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