Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

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In June 2018 an outbreak of vaccine-derived poliovirus was declared by the Papua New Guinea Government in Morobe province.  In July 2018, preparations for implementation of large scale immunization activities and intensified surveillance measures began.

The WHO recommends that all travellers to polio-affected areas be fully vaccinated against polio. Residents (and visitors for more than 4 weeks) from infected areas should receive an additional dose of OPV or IPV. This should be between four weeks and 12 months prior to international travel. Those undertaking urgent travel (i.e. within four weeks), who have not received a dose of OPV or IPV in the previous four weeks to 12 months, should receive a dose of polio vaccine at least by the time of departure. Travellers should be provided with a written record of such vaccination, preferably using the International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis, and keep this record during international travels.

Infections from vaccine-derived poliovirus occur on occasion in countries still using live poliovirus vaccine. Vaccination against polio before travel will protect against these outbreaks. New Zealand does not use live poliovirus vaccine.  

This advice is in addition to any other travel specific vaccinations that may be required.

Polio has been eradicated from New Zealand and from most of the countries around the world. An updated list of states still infected with a poliovirus can be found here.

Useful links:

-          Polio Global Eradication Initiative

-          World Health Organization. “Vaccine-preventable diseases and vaccines.”

Associated Advisories:

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