Polio is a disease that has been eradicated in Belgium, yet it is still rife in other parts of the world. For as long as the polio virus is in circulation, unvaccinated children, from any country of origin, will run a risk of contracting polio. There is no treatment against polio, vaccination is the only means of prevention.
Why should you be vaccinated?
It has been possible to eradicate polio in Belgium thanks to the vaccination introduced in Belgium in 1958 which was made compulsory in 1967.
There is no treatment against polio, it can only be prevented through vaccination.
Two vaccines exist:
- the oral live attenuated vaccine (Oral Polio Vaccine — OPV), which is now no longer used in Belgium.
- the inactivated injectable vaccine (Inactivated Polio Vaccine — IPV), used in Belgium since 2001.
The polio vaccine is generally combined with vaccines against other diseases (for example: diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) and hepatitis B) but there is also a vaccine uniquely against polio.
To find out about the latest recommendations regarding vaccination, consult the vaccination guide (2009) by the Superior Health Council.
Immunization coverage of the population
Thanks to a very high level of immunization coverage against polio (that is to say a strong proportion of the population have been vaccinated against the disease), the risk of propagation of the virus following potential importation is very low in Belgium.
According to the latest studies conducted in 2019 and 2020, immunization coverage for the 3rd dose of the vaccine is excellent:
- 98.0% in Brussels (2019)
- 97.9% in Wallonia (2019)
- 97.4% in Flanders (2020).
Please note! In order to continue to protect the population and to prevent the virus from recirculating in Belgium, this level of immunization coverage must be maintained, infants must therefore continue to be immunized and boosters must not be forgotten.