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Poliomyelitis (polio) is a potentially paralysing, vaccine preventable, viral infection. The virus is transmitted through food or water contaminated by infected human faeces or by direct contact with an infectious person.

Polio vaccine

The objective of the immunisation programme is to provide a minimum of five doses of a polio- containing vaccine at appropriate intervals for all individuals. For adults and children from 10 years of age, who have not received polio vaccinations in the past, a three-dose course of vaccinations can be provided.

Polio vaccine is recommended for:
– All individuals, from two months of age as part of the UK routine immunisation schedule
– Travellers to areas or countries where there are recent reports of wild polio and their last dose of polio vaccine was given 10 or more years ago.
– Individuals at risk of exposure to polio through their work, e.g. certain healthcare workers and microbiology laboratory staff

Length of protection

In most circumstances, five doses of polio containing vaccine at the appropriate intervals are considered to give satisfactory long-term protection for life in the UK. However, travellers to areas or countries where there are recent reports of polio and whose last dose of polio vaccine was 10 or more years ago are recommended to have a booster dose.

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