Parents of young children in north east London are being urged to get their little ones a polio booster vaccine amid fears the virus is spreading in the capital.

All children aged one to nine in London are being offered a jab after positive samples of vaccine-derived poliovirus were detected in sewage across a number of north London boroughs, including Brent, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, and Waltham Forest.

Although most people fight off polio without realising they are infected, NHS North East London says the immunisation protects youngsters from rare cases of life-long paralysis and other disabilities.

It also stops the spread of the virus, which can also be life-threatening.

A polio survivor, Mahfuz Rahman, 35, caught the illness in Bangladesh when he was around two years old and has a shorter and weaker left leg since.

The British Polio Fellowship member said: “Polio has limited the life I lead and though I’m only 35 now, I can already see new polio symptoms starting to develop, like fatigue and muscle pain.

“Any parent offered a booster or catch-up dose of the polio vaccine by the NHS should take it – we don’t want to see any polio cases in London.

“Vaccination is the best way to protect children and stop the virus spreading.

“Otherwise, you risk catching polio and living a limited life with limb damage, pain, fatigue and muscle weakness. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone”.

This comes after UK Heath Security Agency (UKHSA), working with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), found poliovirus in samples collected from the Beckton Sewage Treatment Works in Newham.

However, there has not been a live case of polio in the UK since 1984.

Diane Jones, chief nursing officer for NHS North East London, said: “We’re committed to doing all we can to protect children and the wider public from the threat of polio which is why we’ve expanded the sites delivering vaccinations.

“The vaccine has been safely used in millions of children and will give them a high level of protection from polio."

The NHS North East London serves boroughs including Barking and Dagenham, Hackney, Havering, Newham, Redbridge, and Tower Hamlets.

Parents and guardians of children one to nine are being contacted by letter or text asking them to book an appointment with their GP.

There are already a number of sites where eligible youngsters aged five to nine can get the vaccine - find out more at