BRITS have been urged to check their vaccination records after poliovirus was found in sewage samples in London.
In the UK, the polio vaccine is part of the NHS routine childhood vaccination schedule.
But as many try and access their records, they have been left in confusion, with GPs even struggling to understand if patients are up to date with immunisations.
During the coronavirus pandemic, many people downloaded the NHS app so their Covid vaccine records were readily available.
This is also one way that you are able to see whether or not you have had the polio vaccine, under the ‘your GP medical record’ section of the app.
But for most people, this only shows recent medicines as well as previous allergies and adverse reactions.
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In order to get full access to your records, you have to call your GP directly.
One woman said she is still struggling to understand whether or not her 16-year-old son is protected from the virus.
Deborah Siddoway, from Hexham, Northumberland said she called her GP to check his record, only to be told they have ‘absolutely no idea’, The Telegraph reported.
Because some of these jabs are given through school immunisation programmes, she was told to call the School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS).
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She said she is still no further in understanding whether or not he has had his vaccine.
The scramble for jabs comes after data showed that less than 50 per cent of teens in some parts of England aren’t vaccinated against the highly contagious disease.
A report from the UK Health Security Agency earlier this week revealed that polio had been found in sewage samples in North and East London.
Medics warned that one in ten kids in the capital aged five are not vaccinated against the bug.
Government data shows children in several London boroughs don’t have adequate protection.
In Hillingdon, West London, just 35 per cent of Year 9s have had their booster, with the local authority having the worst coverage in the country.
It’s followed by Brent, where just a third of teens are fully vaccinated.
Other areas across the UK that have poor uptake levels include Nottingham, Leicester, Middlesbrough and Torbay.
What are the 6 signs of polio you need to know
The majority of people who get infected with poliovirus will not have any visible symptoms.
About one in four people with poliovirus infection will have flu-like symptoms that may include:
- Sore throat
- Stomach pain
Symptoms usually last anywhere between two to 10 days before they go away on their own.
In very rare cases, polio can cause difficulty using your muscles, usually in the legs.
This is not usually permanent and movement should slowly return over the next few weeks or months.
Medics believe a traveller – likely from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Nigeria – shed the virus in their stools after being given the oral polio inoculation.
The UK has seen a large influx of refugees from countries like Afghanistan in recent years, where polio has not been eradicated.
Many people have also fled from war-torn Ukraine, which had been dealing with an outbreak of polio when the war started.
The NHS is set to roll out a fresh vaccine drive to high-risk groups in London.
Local teams will run catch-up sessions in secondary schools.
The government report on polio jabs states the pandemic had an impact on kids having their jabs and that uptake is still not back up to pre-pandemic levels.
Vaccines were still offered during the pandemic, but at a slower rate.
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These jabs are usually given in year 9, but some had to be pushed back to year 10 due to lockdown restrictions.
“Td/IPV vaccine coverage in the year 9 cohort in 2020 to 2021 was 76.4 per cent, recovering significantly from the 57.6 per cent reported in 2019 to 2020, although it is not quite back up to prepandemic levels,” says the report.
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