Rockland County Health Department offers free polio booster vaccinations
NEW CITY- Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert urge residents planning travel this spring to areas of the world where polio is found to get a polio booster shot.
These countries include Israel, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and several other central African countries. Recently, Israel’s Ministry of Health confirmed four children had tested positive for poliovirus after one unvaccinated child presented symptoms of paralysis. Israel has additionally reported widespread detection of poliovirus in wastewater systems.
Per the CDC (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention), adults who completed the polio vaccine series as children and are planning to travel to countries with increased risk of polio may receive a one-time booster dose of the IPV polio vaccine.
The Rockland County Department of Health is offering the following free polio booster clinics at the Robert Yeager Health Center, 50 Sanatorium Road, Building A, in Pomona, New York. These clinics are only for those who have completed their polio vaccination series. These clinics are walk-in; no appointment is needed:
- Friday, March 24, from 9:00 am-11:00 am
- Friday, April 14, from 9:00 am-11:00 am
- Friday, April 28, from 9:00 am-11:00 am
If you or a family member have never been vaccinated against polio or have not completed the polio vaccination series, call the Rockland County Department of Health at 845-364-2520 or 845-364-2524 to make an appointment at our Immunization Clinic.
“The only protection from this dangerous disease is immunization. Because of worldwide travel and low vaccination rates, polio may likely be seen in our area again this year. Now is the time to protect yourself and your family from polio and other vaccine-preventable infectious diseases,” said Dr. Ruppert.
Polio is a virus that spreads from person to person through infected feces (which can be microscopic) that enter the body through the mouth. Polio can also be spread through contact with contaminated bodies of water. Respiratory transmission and oral to oral transmission through saliva may also account for some cases.
Most people infected with polio have no symptoms, yet they can still spread the virus. About 1 out of 4 people have mild symptoms of polio including, fever, muscle weakness, headache, nausea, and vomiting. In some cases, polio can infect a person’s brain and spinal cord, causing permanent paralysis (cannot move parts of the body) or even death. Between two and 10 out of 100 people who have paralysis from polio die because the virus affects the muscles that help them breathe. Even people who seem to recover fully can develop new muscle pain, weakness, or paralysis 15 to 40 years later.
For more information about travel to areas where polio is common, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website at https://www.cdc.gov/polio/what-is-polio/travelers.html.
For more information on the Rockland County Department of Health’s immunization clinics, visit http://rocklandgov.com/departments/health/clinics-and-immunizations/.