Immunisation is not the end

This week marks World Immunisation Week 2016.

I would like to praise everyone involved in organising Immunisation Week, as well as all the medical professionals around the world who help to carry out immunisations against various diseases and conditions – polio included.

Indeed, the immunisation campaign against polio has been hugely successful, with just 74 cases worldwide last year.

Attention must now, however, move towards post polio syndrome (PPS), a late consequence of polio which was not even recognised until the 1990s.

This late recognition has stopped PPS getting the attention it requires and so desperately needs.

Despite a prevalence of around 120,000 in the UK, putting it at a similar level to Parkinson’s, just seven per cent of people are familiar with PPS.

Concerningly, this trend is seen among doctors, where only 55 per cent would be able to diagnose PPS.

This lack of awareness is leading to many with PPS not receiving adequate care.

It is urgent that while we carry on important immunisation programmes, we do not forget about the after-effects of conditions like polio, and realise that vaccination, and even eradication, is not the end of the road.

If you would like more information about The British Polio Fellowship or need our support living with PPS, please contact us at www.britishpolio.org.uk or by calling 0800 043 1935.

Ted Hill MBE

Chief executive

The British Polio Fellowship

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