170,000 children vaccinated in Israel polio campaign

On Sunday, the Health Ministry in Israel launched a campaign against polio, with the view to vaccinate about 1 million children against the disease.

The campaign comes after the wild polio virus has been found in sewage systems in the south of the country. So far, 170,000 children have received the oral polio vaccine in an attempt to thwart any outbreak of the disease. The campaign is expected to last three months, but the Health Ministry wants as many children inoculated before they return to school.

The two-drop live-attenuated polio vaccine used in the campaign contains weakened strain 1 and strain 3 viruses, and will only be given to children who have received at least one dose of killed virus in the past.

There has been growing concern amongst the public in Israel that immunocompromised individuals could contract polio by being in contact with children who have received the live-attenuated vaccine. The ministry sought to allay these fears by stressing that very few people are at high risk – mainly those who have received bone-marrow transplants or have an antibody deficiency. Those people could reduce their risk by taking the dead-virus vaccine or receiving passive immunisation with antibodies. The ministry also warned about being especially attentive to hygiene to avoid contracting polio from bodily secretions such as faeces.

Read more at Haaretz >

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