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Polio vaccine catch-up campaign to be rolled out by NHS

The rate of children in London receiving their polio vaccinations by the time they turn one is 87.9% compared to 92.1% in England as a whole

A polio vaccination catch-up campaign will be delivered in London as it has the lowest vaccination rates in England.

The rates in London of children receiving their polio vaccinations by the time they turn one is 87.9% compared to 92.1% in England as a whole.

While the uptake for the pre-school booster for children aged five is even lower in London at 69.9% compared to the rest of England at 83.4%.

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Although transmission in London has reduced, the World Health Organisation requires evidence of 12 months of zero detections of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 before the UK can be considered a non-infected polio country.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at 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.’

Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged one to eleven years will be offered polio jabs as well as other routine childhood vaccines such as MMR as part of the catch-up campaign.

The vaccines will be delivered through primary school and community clinics, particularly targeting communities with the lowest levels of vaccine uptake.

Chief nurse for the NHS in London, Jane Clegg said: ‘The risk to children who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated against polio continues to be a focus for the NHS in London, so they have protection against serious illness.

‘We urge all parents in London to check their child’s red book or contact their GP practice to get up to date with their polio vaccination schedule.’