London Remains Focused on Polio Vaccinations

UK offers IPV not oral polio vaccines
State Dept Embassies
U.S. Dept of State
London (Vax Before Travel)

The U.K. Health Services Agency (UKHSA) recently published an update highlighting actions in response to detecting a VDPV2 in London sewage samples. 

The UKHSA stated on November 14, 2022, primary care colleagues and immunization providers should ensure their patients are up to date with their polio-containing vaccines.

And offer catch-up vaccination to anyone who is un/under-vaccinated. 

In the greater London area, an Inactivated Polio Vaccine booster campaign was launched targeting children aged one.

The polio vaccine is part of the NHS childhood vaccination schedule. In the U.K., children must have all vaccinations to be classified as fully vaccinated against polio.

It's administered when children are 8, 12, and 16 weeks old as part of the 6-in-1 vaccine.

Then, part of the 4-in-1 (DTaP/IPV) pre-school booster, and at 14 years old, part of the 3-in-1 (Td/IPV) teenage booster.

Furthermore, under specific situations, the UKHSA says acute flaccid paralysis/myelitis should be considered.

AFP/AFM is characterized by the rapid onset of weakness of an individual's extremities, often including weakness of the muscles of respiration and swallowing, progressing to maximum severity within ten days.

The WHO formally confirmed on September 14, 2022, that the U.K. has a 'circulating' VDPV2 based on the detection of the same isolate for more than 60 days and evidence that the virus detected in London is genetically linked to the poliovirus detected in Israel and the U.S. earlier in 2022.

It is considered most likely that an individual entered the U.K. in February 2022 from a country where the oral polio vaccine (OPV) has been used.

Recently vaccinated individuals shed the OPV virus in their stool for a few weeks, which can be detected through sewage surveillance.

The U.K. switched from using OPV to IPV in 2004.

To notify international travelers of their potential polio risks, the U.S. CDC reissued an Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions on November 18, 2022.

The U.K. was included in this Alert.

Additionally, the CDC recommends various travel vaccinations, such as measles and hepatitis, before visiting the U.K.

Travel vaccination services are available in the U.S. at certified clinics and pharmacies.

Other polio outbreak news is posted at

While visiting England, U.S. citizens who need assistance can visit U.S. Embassy London, located at 33 Nine Elms Lane, London, SW11 7US - Phone: [44] (0)20 7499-9000.

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