All children aged 1-9 in London will be offered a dose of polio vaccine

Following the discovery of vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 in sewage in North and East London, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization (JCVI) reported that a targeted inactivated poliomyelitis vaccine (IPV) a booster dose should be offered to all children aged 1-9 years in all London boroughs.

This will ensure a high level of protection against paralysis and help reduce the spread of the virus.

Nationally, the overall risk of paralytic poliomyelitis is considered low because most people are protected from it by vaccination.

Many countries around the world provide an extra dose of polio vaccine as part of their childhood immunization schedule. NHS London will contact parents when it is their child’s turn to come in for a polio booster or catch-up dose – parents should take up the offer as soon as possible.

The program will start with affected areas, where poliovirus has been detected and vaccination rates are low. It will be followed by rapid deployment in all the boroughs.

This booster dose will be in addition to the NHS childhood vaccination catch-up campaign in London, where the childhood vaccination rate is lower than the rest of the country. It is important that all children 1-9 years old, even if they are up to date with their vaccinations, accept this vaccine when offered to further enhance their protection against poliovirus.

Following the findings earlier this year of poliovirus type 2 (PV2) collected from the Beckton Wastewater Treatment Plant, further upstream sampling carried out by the UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) and the Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has now identified at least one positive sample for poliovirus, currently present in parts of the following arrondissements:

  • Barnett
  • Brent
  • Camden
  • Enfield
  • Hackney
  • Haringey
  • islington
  • Waltham Forest

Sampling also detected the virus at lower concentrations and frequency in areas adjacent to the Beckton Catchment to the south (immediately below the River Thames) and east of Beckton. However, it is unclear whether the virus has become established in these areas or whether the detections are due to people from the affected area visiting these nearby areas.

The level of poliovirus found and the great genetic diversity among PV2 isolates suggest that there is some level of virus transmission in these boroughs which may spread to adjacent areas. This suggests that transmission went beyond a close network of a few individuals.

A total of 116 PV2 Isolates have been identified in 19 sewage samples taken in London between February 8 and July 5 this year, but most are vaccine-like viruses and only a few have enough mutations to be classified as polioviruses derived from a vaccine (VDPV2).

VDPV2 is of greater concern because it behaves more like naturally occurring “wild” polio and can, on rare occasions, cause paralysis in unvaccinated people.

UKHSA is working closely with health agencies in New York and Israel alongside the World Health Organization to investigate links between poliovirus detected in London and recent polio incidents in these 2 other countries.

Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at UKHSAsaid:

No cases of poliomyelitis have been reported and for the majority of the population, which is fully immunized, the risk is low. But we do know that the areas of London where poliovirus is transmitted have some of the lowest vaccination rates. This is why the virus is spreading in these communities and putting residents who are not fully vaccinated at greater risk.

Poliomyelitis is a serious infection that can cause paralysis, but nationally the overall risk is considered low because most people are protected by vaccination. The last case of polio in the UK was in 1984, but decades ago, before the polio vaccination program was introduced, around 8,000 people developed paralysis each year.

It is essential that parents ensure that their children are fully immunized for their age. Next JCVI advice all children aged 1 to 9 in London should get a dose of polio vaccine now – whether it’s an extra booster dose or just to catch up on their routine vaccinations. It will ensure a high level of protection against paralysis. It can also help prevent the spread of the virus.

Jane Clegg, NHS chief nurse in London, said:

While the majority of Londoners are protected against polio, the NHS will soon be contacting parents of eligible children aged 1-9 to offer them a top-up dose to ensure they have maximum protection against polio. virus.

We are already reaching out to parents and carers of children who are not up to date with their routine vaccinations, who can make an appointment with their GP now and for anyone who is unsure of their vaccination status. of their child, they can check their red book.

UKHSAwork with MHRAhas already stepped up sewage monitoring to assess the extent of the spread of the virus and is currently sampling 8 sites across London.

A further 15 sites in London will begin sewage sampling in mid-August, and 10-15 sites will be set up nationwide to determine if poliovirus is spreading outside of London.

All children aged 1-9 in London will be offered a dose of polio vaccine

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