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World Polio Day highlights importance of childhood immunisation

Childhood immunisation is a key part of ending polio.

Parents are being reminded of the importance of immunisation against polio to protect their young children from getting the disease which took a global effort to eradicate from many parts of the world.

Our Public Health Physician Dr Kate Alexander says polio can infect a person of any age, but mainly affects children under five years of age. Most infections cause mild symptoms but it can lead to severe disease including paralysis in about one in 200 cases. Earlier this year the virus was detected in wastewater in the US, UK and Israel.

"There is no proven treatment for polio, it can only be prevented.  Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing polio," she said.

October 24 is World Polio Day.

"As long as polio continues to circulate internationally, it is important for Gold Coast and Australia to maintain high polio vaccination rates into the future," Dr Alexander says.

Under the National Immunisation Program, children are vaccinated against polio in a combination vaccine given at 2, 4 and 6 months of age, with a booster at 4 years of age.

In the Gold Coast, vaccination coverage for polio in children at five years of age ranges from 84.5% in the Gold Coast Hinterland to 93.5% in Mudgeeraba - Tallebudgera, meaning we still have children who are not protected against this disease, Dr Alexander says.

"It is really important with people travelling overseas and as more travellers enter our City that we keep our children safe by getting them vaccinated on time.”  

You can get most recommended vaccines at your doctor or health provider and Gold Coast Health offers free community immunisation clinics at seven locations across the city.

Last updated 24 Oct 2022