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23 March 2023
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Polio vaccine catch-up campaign for London

Following the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA)’s continued surveillance of sewage in London no further vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) isolates have been detected since early November, which suggests transmission in London has significantly reduced.

Despite these encouraging findings, the risk from poliovirus remains. The World Health Organization requires evidence of 12 months of zero detections before the UK is no longer considered to be a polio ‘infected’ country.
Vaccination rates in London are lower than the rest of the country with 87.6% of children receiving all their polio vaccinations by the time they turn one year compared to 92.1% in England as a whole. Uptake for the pre-school booster for children aged 5 years is even lower at 69.9% in London compared to 83.4% in England.

In response, the NHS in London will soon be delivering a catch-up campaign, offering polio jabs and other routine childhood vaccines such as measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) to unvaccinated or partially vaccinated children aged 1 to 11 years, during the summer term. Children will receive vaccines through a combination of primary school and community clinics, with a particular focus on supporting communities with the lowest levels of vaccine uptake.

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