The Anonymous Widower

Do I Need To Have A Booster Polio Vaccination?

Polio seems to have returned and cases are rising in North-East London, where I live.

I was vaccinated using an injecton in the 1950s, so it must have been the Salk vaccine.

In today’s Sunday Times, there is an article, which is entitled A Little More Vaccination: Elvis Presley And The Race To Beat Polio, where this is said.

Sabin’s live vaccine could be swallowed as a drop on a sugar cube. This mimics the route that the virus takes naturally, entering the body’s gut. Salk’s dead virus had to be injected. Most importantly, it turned out that Sabin’s vaccine could give lifelong immunity, while Salk’s only protected for a few years.

As it is more than a few years, since I was vaccinated, do I need a booster?

June 26, 2022 - Posted by | Health | ,


  1. I had the injected vaccine as a baby I think, and I have had the “sugar lump” one when my daughter had her first polio vaccine. Back then it was typical practice to gove the mum the vaccine as well because it is possible to catch the virus from someone who had the vaccine in the past few days.

    Because of my blood cancer causing lack of immune system I would have to have the non-live one, not the liquid.

    Which I will do if polio becomes as issue in this area of the country.

    Comment by nosnikrapzil | June 26, 2022 | Reply

  2. I would think a booster a prudent idea. I had one in 1999 when I went on holiday to Cuba, as my doctor said that the original fifties vaccine did not have enough power to combat newer types of Polio. I had it at my NHS doctors surgery on a sugar lump.

    Comment by jagracer | June 26, 2022 | Reply

  3. You raise an interesting issue. According to the NHS you can have what is a normally free polio vaccination at any point if you’ve never had one before, even if you’re not travelling to a country with a risk of getting polio. Knowing the state of medical record keeping I suspect your GP wouldn’t have a clue about your 60 year old Salk vaccination.
    At the end of the day I suppose it’s a question of the perceived risk, and seeing as that risk resides largely in young children who are not fully vaccinated it’s probably more important that the NHS identifies and treats them.

    Comment by fammorris | June 26, 2022 | Reply

    • A couple of years ago, my GP asked me if I’d been vaccinated against measles, as there was an epidemic in the North of the borough. I haven’t but I did catch it from one of my children at 28, at the same time as chickenpox. Not nice!

      Now the same anti-vaccination group have created a lot of polio cases.

      Comment by AnonW | June 26, 2022 | Reply

  4. I feel lucky I have inadvertently had a booster. In 2014 I needed a tetanus vaccination. Although I was 65 I was given the only thing they had available at my local GP which was the combined whooping cough, polio and tetanus vaccine which they give to children.

    Comment by HW | June 27, 2022 | Reply

  5. Polio is NOT spreading throughout London. It is false news spread by anti-vaxxers claiming the vaccine spreads the disease.

    All that has happened is that traces of polio have been found in the sewage at Becton works. This happens two or three times each year and is from one or two people who would have had the live polio vaccine(we use a dead polio vaccine). Traces of the live vaccine can be she’d and end up in the sewers.

    There is nothing to worry about. You catch polio by ingesting it. So unless you go swimming in the sh*t at a sewage farm you will not catch it!

    Comment by Maurice Reed | June 27, 2022 | Reply

    • I cannot comment on whether or not is it spreading through anywhere, although it probably isn’t. However, I know a lot about vaccines. I have a compromised immune system, and the vaccine we use nowadays IS LIVE. People in my position must avoid contact with recently polio vaccinated people, because we are at danger of catching it. However, if we all need polio vaccines the government will tell us.

      Comment by nosnikrapzil | June 28, 2022 | Reply

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