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Around 1 Million Children in London Offered Polio Boosters after Virus is Detected in Sewage

Following the detection of poliovirus in Sewage in the British capital, health officials said Wednesday that children living in London would be given an additional dosage of the polio vaccination. All kids between the ages of 1 and 9 in all London boroughs should receive a targeted inactivated polio vaccine booster dosage, according to the UK Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunization.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) announced the action in a statement, saying that it “will provide a high degree of protection from paralysis and assist minimise future transmission of the infection.” The London area is home to around 1 million children that age, according to the UK Office for National Statistics’ most recent statistics.

The UKHSA reported that 19 Sewage samples taken in London between February and July contained a total of 116 viral isolates. While the majority of the samples had virus that was similar to the vaccination, several of them displayed “sufficient changes to be designated as vaccine derived poliovirus.” Since this virus behaved more like “wild polio” and “may, on rare instances, lead to episodes of paralysis in uninfected persons,” the UKHSA warned that this was more alarming. The immunisation campaign is a preventative step, the officials said.

“There have been no instances of polio reported, and the risk is low for the vast majority of people who have had all recommended vaccinations. However, we are aware that the vaccination rates are among the lowest in the parts of London where the poliovirus is spreading.

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