Chicago public health officials are monitoring the spread of polio after New York declared a state of emergency following an outbreak of the virus largely under control for decades thanks to widespread vaccination.
New York on Friday declared a state of emergency to boost vaccination efforts after the virus was detected in sewage from four New York-area counties, as well as New York City itself.
According to New York health officials, several counties in the region have polio vaccination rates below 65%, with the statewide rate just under 80%.
Sewage monitoring began in New York after an unvaccinated man contracted the virus in July and subsequently suffered paralysis. Prior to the man’s infection, it was the country’s first case of polio in nearly 10 years.
Local officials point out that the risk for Chicago remains low thanks to an overall vaccination rate of over 95%. Polio vaccinations are grouped with other childhood vaccinations and are required to enroll in public school.
While it is currently recommended that some New Yorkers receive a single lifetime booster shot of the polio vaccine, it is currently not necessary to seek polio vaccine in Chicago if you have received all vaccines. of your childhood.
“There is no recommendation at this point to get a booster or polio vaccine if you have had all of your regular childhood vaccines,” said Dr. Isaac Shinai, medical director at the Chicago Department of Public Health. which oversees laboratory surveillance of COVID-19. and testing.
Shinai said the city will also use sewage monitoring to monitor polio, which has emerged as a useful tool in several cities around the world in an effort to monitor the progress of local COVID-19 transmission.
With the recent declaration of an emergency in New York and local health experts officially monitoring the virus, here’s everything you need to know about your polio vaccination status in Illinois:
Is the poliomyelitis vaccine compulsory?
According to an NBC News study, most Americans were vaccinated against the virus in early childhood. Kindergarten polio vaccination rates have hovered around 95% since at least the 2011-2012 school year.
Indeed, polio vaccines are mandatory for children entering kindergarten in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, although states allow medical exemptions and, in some cases, religious or philosophical exemptions as well.
But there is no federal database of vaccination records. So if you’re not sure if you’ve been fully vaccinated against polio, how you retrieve your records depends on where you were vaccinated.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests asking parents or caregivers, doctors or public health clinics you visited as a child, or previous employers who required vaccinations. Schools may also keep records for a few years after students graduate.
You can also request records from the state health department where you were vaccinated, but systems for storing and accessing this information vary.
While many states allow you to request records through online forms or mobile apps, or immediately search for records through online portals, Illinois is not one of them. Although Illinois residents can request their vaccination records, processing can take up to a month.
How to request your polio vaccination record if you live in Illinois if you live in Illinois
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, residents must complete an immunization record request and then submit it using an online form.
“Please allow 3-4 weeks for processing,” the IDPH form says.
For more information about Illinois Comprehensive Automated Immunization Registry Exchange, visit the IDPH website.