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Nottingham records below average Polio vaccination take up after virus detected in London

today27 June 2022

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Nottingham records the lowest Polio vaccination take up in the East Midlands despite a national alert from health bosses. The city is below the national average when it comes to having the vaccination which protects against the virus.

It comes after health bosses issued a national alert when polio was found in sewage samples collected in London. Parents have been urged to ensure their children are vaccinated against the virus after it was discovered in the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.

Polio has not been detected elsewhere in the UK and the nation is considered to be polio-free by the World Health Organisation. However, vaccination take up for children has decreased nationally and so parents have been urged to check their children’s vaccination records.

Read more: Nottinghamshire polio update after virus detected in sewage water

Children are offered the 3-in-1 or the Td/IPV vaccine to boost protection against tetanus, diphtheria and polio when they are 14 years old. Yet Nottingham records one of the lowest vaccination take ups in the UK according to data from gov.uk.

The national average for year 9 children is 76.4% whilst in Nottingham it is at 50.4%. It means that in 2020/21, just 1,785 children took up the vaccine in Nottingham out of 3,539 pupils in that year group across the city.

For students in year 10 in Nottingham, 64.8% took up the polio vaccination compared to the national average at 80.3%. The city has ranked the worst in the East Midlands for vaccination take up.

Nottinghamshire is slightly higher with 73.1% of year 9 pupils and 74.5% of year 10 pupils taking the vaccine in 2020/21 but still falls below the national average.

Derby saw 68.5% of year 9 pupils take the vaccination and 83.3% of year 10s. Derbyshire saw vaccination numbers higher than the national average with 85.4% of year 9s and 93.9% of year 10s have the jab.

Leicester had 52.4% of year 9s and 75.6% of year 10s vaccinated against polio whilst Leicestershire had 85.8% of year 9s and 85.1% of year 10s vaccinated. It means the county has ranked the highest in the East Midlands for vaccine take up.

Lincolnshire saw 83.1% of their year 9s vaccinated and 78.5% of their year 10s vaccinated. It is worth noting that school attendance rates in England during this time frame were lower than normal, especially in areas with very high COVID-19 incidence rates.

All of this led to some disruption of the immunisation programme delivery and the impact varied by region and local authority. Td/IPV vaccine coverage in 2020 to2021 has improved significantly from the low levels reported for the 2019 to 2020 academic year but is still not back up to pre-pandemic levels.

Jonathan Gribbin, Director of Public Health at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Routine public health surveillance has found poliovirus in sewage samples collected from the London Beckton Sewage Treatment Works.

“While investigations are underway and although the current risk to the public in Nottinghamshire remains extremely low, it serves as a good reminder to parents of young children to ensure that their child’s vaccines are up to date. This is especially relevant for some children who may have missed an immunisation opportunity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Parents can check their child’s vaccination status in their Red Book and can contact their GP surgery to book a vaccination, should they or their child not be fully up to date.

“Childhood vaccinations are safe and effective and are the best protection against diseases like polio. Parents and carers are always encouraged to take up every vaccination offer from their child’s GP as soon as they are notified in order to protect against serious illness.”

Dr Vanessa Saliba, consultant epidemiologist at UKHSA, told Nottinghamshire Live: “Vaccine-derived poliovirus is rare and the risk to the public overall is extremely low.

“Vaccine-derived poliovirus has the potential to spread, particularly in communities where vaccine uptake is lower. On rare occasions it can cause paralysis in people who are not fully vaccinated so if you or your child are not up to date with your polio vaccinations it’s important you contact your GP to catch up or, if unsure, check your red book.

“Most of the UK population will be protected from vaccination in childhood, but in some communities with low vaccine coverage, individuals may remain at risk.

“We are urgently investigating to better understand the extent of this transmission and the NHS has been asked to swiftly report any suspected cases to the UKHSA, though no cases have been reported or confirmed so far.”

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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