The answers to all of your questions about polio in New York City.
On Friday, Governor Kathy Hochuli of New York proclaimed a polio emergency in order to boost vaccination rates throughout the state.
As of August, the virus had been found in New York City, Rockland, Sullivan, and Orange Counties, as well as Nassau County on Long Island.
According to CNBC, the governor declared the emergency so that there would be a larger pool of personnel available to deliver the vaccine in places where the immunization rate has declined.
Dr. Mary Bassett, the commissioner of health for the city of New York, stated in a statement, “On polio, we just cannot roll the dice.” “I implore New Yorkers to take absolutely no risks. When given in the recommended quantities, the polio vaccine is secure and protects almost everyone from the disease.
The number of children in NYC who have had their vaccines has reportedly decreased since 2019. This has “placed us at risk for outbreaks and fatal complications of vaccine-preventable diseases,” according to city and state officials in August. Then, only 86.2% of NYC kids between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old have received the recommended three doses of the polio vaccine, and over 14% of them aren’t fully protected.
Williamsburg, Battery Park City, Bed-Stuy, and East Williamsburg have the lowest percentages of polio immunization at the moment, ranging from barely 56% to 65%, according to a map of New York City.
What is polio?
Polio is a potentially fatal, highly contagious virus that affects the neurological system and can result in muscle weakness, paralysis, or even death.
How is polio transmitted?
Being highly contagious, polio enters the body through the mouth, frequently from hands that have come into contact with an infected person’s faces (wash your hands). It can also spread via saliva-mediated mouth-to-mouth contact and respiratory transmission.
Medical News Today reports that even though it has been found in our wastewater, we cannot get it from drinking water or other public water sources.
“There is very, very, very little risk to the general population in areas where the wastewater is thoroughly treated before being released back into the environment and there are good water purification practises, but there could be a risk for personnel working in wastewater facilities,” Dr. Marny Eulberg told the publication.
Do I need to worry about Polio when I’m out in NYC?
Polio can spread by saliva, faces, and droplets, so it is possible to contract it while you are out and about. However, if you have had the vaccine, you shouldn’t be concerned. Therefore, remember to always wash your hands.
What signs and symptoms are there of polio?
Milder and flu-like polio symptoms can include fatigue, fever, headache, stiffness, muscle discomfort, and vomiting. Although symptoms may not manifest for up to 30 days, an infected individual can still transfer the virus to others during this time even if they are not yet showing any signs of illness.
Polio can cause paralysis, post-polio syndrome, permanent impairment, and even death.
Do you require the polio vaccine?
Yes, polio has no known cure, but for those above the age of two months, there is a vaccination that, when given in its whole, offers 99% protection.
How do I know if I have had the polio vaccine?
All school-age New Yorkers must be immunized before they begin school because the polio vaccine has long been a part of the CDC’s child and adolescent immunization schedule (as well as the NYSDOH’s list of compulsory school immunizations). This indicates that many New Yorkers have already received all necessary vaccinations. Check your medical records and contact your parent or former guardian if you are unsure.
Do I need a booster?
You should obtain a booster if you’ve come into touch with someone who has polio or if you work in healthcare or sanitation in an area where the disease has been found.
You should obtain a booster shot if you have only had one or two doses of the vaccination (and haven’t finished the series).
Where can you find the polio vaccine?
Contact your doctor or the county health department in your area to schedule an immunization if you or your kid are not yet protected. To find a healthcare provider if you don’t already have one, phone 311 or 844-NYC-4NYC (844-692-4692).
What is the polio vaccine schedule?
Adults who have never received the polio vaccine should receive it in three doses: the first at any time, the second one to two months later, and the third six to twelve months after the second. No matter how long it’s been since the earlier doses, if you’ve only taken one or two, you should finish the sequence.
To be fully protected against polio, all kids must receive four doses of the vaccine, one at each of the ages listed below:
Dose 1: 6 weeks through 2 months old
Dose 2: 4 months old
Dose 3: 6 through 18 months old
Dose 4: 4 through 6 years old
Is the polio vaccine safe?
Yes! Since its introduction in 2000, the inactivated poliovirus vaccine (IPV) has provided protection to 99% of children who receive all recommended doses. According to the CDC, it has shielded millions of New Yorkers from polio in every town across the state for over 22 years. It can’t paralyze you or give you polio.