Polio is a viral disease spread through excretion from the bowel, contaminating water. It affects the neurological system, causing paralysis.
Since the introduction of vaccination in the 1950’s worldwide rates have fallen dramatically and eradication is tantalisingly close, with 2016 having recorded the lowest number of cases on record. However, efforts to finally achieve eradication through vaccination have been hampered by political instability, war zones and misinformation about the vaccine.
Do I need a Polio vaccine?
In February 2017, World Health Organisation (WHO) released updated polio vaccine recommendations. Temporary polio vaccine requirements affect the following countries: Afghanistan, Laos, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Long-term travellers to these polio-infected countries (staying >4 weeks) may be required to show proof of polio vaccination when leaving them. Some other countries also request proof of vaccination when arriving from the above countries.
To meet WHO requirements, long-term travellers should receive the polio vaccine between 4 weeks and 12 months before the date of departure from these polio-infected countries. WHO regularly updates these recommendations based on changing information about incidence of polio in various countries.
Do I need proof of vaccination?
Currently yes. If polio vaccination is required, we record it on an official certificate of international vaccination which should be carried at all times with your passport.
These recommendations are in addition to the recommendations that all individuals should have received 3 doses in early childhood as part of the standard childhood vaccination schedule.
What vaccine is used in Australia?
The vaccine currently in use in Australia is an inactivated injected vaccine. It cannot cause disease (unlike the oral polio drops).