Richmond health leaders stress importance of Polio vaccine


RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) – The Richmond-Henrico Health District said there is no significant risk of polio spreading here in central Virginia. They have not received any new guidance from the CDC regarding updated vaccination recommendations.

The CDC says testing of sewage in New York leads them to believe polio is circulating in parts of the state. So far, there has been only one confirmed case in New York.

Polio was eradicated from the US in 1979. This case has raised some concerns in the health community.

However, RHHD wants people to vaccinate their children against the virus. Adults who have not yet received the vaccine should also be vaccinated.

Children should receive the first dose at 2 months of age and the last dose between 4 and 6 years of age. In some circumstances, fully vaccinated adults should receive a polio vaccine booster, especially if they travel abroad or work in a health care setting.

“The idea is that the more people that are vaccinated, the less host if you will, the virus has to live and then spread to another person,” explained Cat Long with the Richmond-Henrico Health District.

The health district said the vaccine is between 99-100 percent effective. They also noted that community spread of an extinct disease like polio is a warning sign to keep up with your vaccinations.

“This is an example of what can happen if we don’t have enough of our population vaccinated against a certain disease,” Amy Popovich. She works as a nurse manager at RHHD.

If polio comes to central Virginia, local health departments will receive guidance from the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health on new measures.

“Hospital systems, doctors’ offices, any other type of medical provider are required to notify local and state health departments so that we can find out very quickly if there were any cases of polio in Virginia,” Long said.

You can check if you have been vaccinated by looking online at Virginia Department of Health Vaccine Database.

Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.

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