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Did I get the polio vaccine? How you can know if you’re protected in opposition to the virus


A case of polio was recognized in Rockland County, New York and now the virus that causes the illness has been detected in New York Metropolis’s wastewater in addition to two different counties’. The New York Well being Division stated this means the virus is being unfold inside native communities, and that a whole lot of individuals could possibly be contaminated

Polio is “a critical and life-threatening illness,” the state well being division stated. It is extremely contagious, and other people can unfold the virus earlier than they begin exhibiting signs — which might take so long as 30 days after turning into contaminated.

Till the current uptick, the polio vaccine had just about worn out the illness for generations of Individuals.

How are you aware when you’ve been vaccinated in opposition to polio?

Polio within the U.S.

Outbreaks of polio killed hundreds of individuals in the usbefore the introduction of the primary polio vaccine in 1955. The illness spreads from individual to individual, normally via contamination from feces. In some circumstances it could actually infect an individual’s spinal wire, inflicting limb weak spot or paralysis that may depart an individual unable to stroll or breathe on their very own.

Patient in an
Hospital workers look at a affected person in a tank respirator, referred to as an iron lung, in the course of the Rhode Island polio epidemic in1960.

CDC / Getty Pictures


The illness usually affected kids, and nervous mother and father stored their youngsters house from public swimming pools, film theaters and different summer season actions, when circumstances usually spiked. 

President Franklin D. Roosevelt survived a bout of polio in 1921 and was left paralyzed. He based the Nationwide Basis for Childish Paralysis, now referred to as the March of Dimes, which pioneered growth of the polio vaccine. 

In 1956, Elvis Presley inspired younger Individuals to get the polio vaccine by getting his shot earlier than the press, forward of an look “The Ed Sullivan Present.” 

Elvis Presley receiving a polio vaccination
Elvis Presley receiving a polio vaccination from Dr. Leona Baumgartner and Dr. Harold Fuerst at CBS Studio 50 in New York Metropolis in 1956.

Seymour Wally/NY Each day Information Archive by way of Getty Pictures


Due to a profitable vaccination program, polio was formally declared eradicated from america in 1979. 

How you can decide your polio vaccination standing

Each U.S. state has had a longstanding requirement for youngsters to obtain the polio vaccine earlier than getting into college, however there is no such thing as a federal regulation that requires kids to have sure vaccines with a view to enter college. 

For instance, New York requires a minimal of seven vaccines for youths to attend pre-Okay — public or non-public — together with the polio, tetanus, measles and hepatitis B vaccines. A number of extra vaccines or doses are required earlier than getting into greater grades. 

Due to these childhood immunizations, public well being officers presume most adults in america have immunity to polio.

To double-check which immunizations you’ve acquired, the CDC suggests asking mother and father or caregivers, finding outdated paperwork out of your childhood, and even asking former faculties, medical doctors and employers, as they might have stored a report of proof of immunization.

Schoolchildren wait for polio vaccine in 1950s
Youngsters line as much as get their polio vaccines on the Woodbury Avenue College in Huntington, New York, within the Nineteen Fifties.

Walter del Toro/Newsday RM by way of Getty Pictures


The CDC recommends kids get 4 doses of the polio vaccine — at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6–18 months, and 4–6 years. Some states solely require three doses. 

Most adults don’t want the vaccine, as they had been possible vaccinated after they had been kids. However the CDC says some adults at greater threat for polio — together with well being care staff who could also be uncovered to the virus, lab staff and other people touring to sure elements of the world the place polio happens — might wish to contemplate vaccination. And naturally, unvaccinated adults are thought of high-risk.

Why is polio again?

One unvaccinated younger grownup in Rockland County, New York, who was beforehand wholesome, developed paralysis of their legs and was confirmed to have polio, well being officers stated in late July. It was the primary recognized case within the U.S. since 2013.

Poliovirus was present in wastewater samples from Rockland County and close by Orange County, in addition to New York Metropolis, indicating wider unfold. Officers are nonetheless investigating its origin and it’s unclear how many individuals might contaminated. 

State Well being Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett stated the one case of polio is “simply the tip of the iceberg.” 

“Primarily based on earlier polio outbreaks, New Yorkers ought to know that for each one case of paralytic polio noticed, there could also be a whole lot of different individuals contaminated,” Bassett stated in an announcement Aug. 4. Officers are urging anybody unvaccinated to get immunized straight away.

After experiences of polio in New York, well being officers in Canada stated they might begin testing wastewater in plenty of cities, CBC Information experiences.

Earlier this 12 months, polio was detected in sewage from London and well being officers within the U.Okay. urged individuals who had not been totally vaccinated to get their pictures, and introduced they might supply boosters to kids in London. 

Final 12 months, when a case of polio was found in an unvaccinated 4-year-old in Jerusalem, Israel’s Ministry of Well being additionally suggested anybody who hadn’t accomplished their vaccinations “to take action with all due haste.”



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