MONDAY, JUNE 18, 2018

Polio scare in Israel starts vaccine campaign

A recent discovery of the polio virus in Israel has spurred the country's Health Ministry to increase the vaccination rate and give booster shots to children.

The Health Ministry is considering the reinstatement of the live attenuated oral polio vaccine, which it discontinued in 2005. This oral polio vaccine known to come with more risks and side affects than typical inactivated polio vaccine shots, most notably paralytic poliomyelitis. If reinstated, the oral vaccine will be given to 150,000 children along with the five jabs of inactivated polio vaccine shots they typically receive, Fierce Vaccines reports.

The recent scare comes after wild poliovirus type 1 surfaced in a sewage sample taken from Rahat, a southern region of Israel, in April. The polio vaccination rate throughout Israel is 94 percent, but up to 10 percent of Rahat region residents may lack immunity, according to Fierce Vaccines.

Israel experienced its last case of polio in 1988, and since then has continued to monitor for the virus. Samples that were taken in Gaza and the West Bank have been negative since 2002, Fierce Vaccine reports.