Richmond health leaders stress importance of Polio vaccine
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond-Henrico Health District said there isn’t a considerable risk of polio spreading here in central Virginia. They have not received any new guidance from the CDC about updated vaccination recommendations.
The CDC says wastewater testing in New York leads them to believe polio is circulating in parts of the state. So far, there’s only been 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 does want people to get their kids vaccinated against the virus. Adults who have not yet received the vaccine should also get immunized.
Kids should get their first dose at 2 months old and their last dose between 4 and 6 years old. In some circumstances, fully vaccinated adults should get a polio vaccine booster, especially if they travel internationally or work in a health care setting.
“The idea is that the more people that are vaccinated, the fewer hosts if you will the virus has to live in and then to eventually 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 the community spread of an eradicated disease like polio is a warning sign to keep up on your vaccines.
“This is an example of what can happen if we don’t have enough of our population vaccinated against a particular illness,” Amy Popovich. She works as the nurse manager at RHHD.
If polio does come to central Virginia, local health departments will take guidance from the CDC and Virginia Department of Health on new measures.
“Hospital systems, doctors’ offices, any other type of medical provider are required to alert the local and state health departments so we would find out really quickly if there were to ever be a case of polio in Virginia,” Long stated.
You can check if you’ve been vaccinated by looking online at the Virginia Department of Health’s vaccine database.
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