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'Be protected. Beat Polio now', Poster advertising polio vaccinations, London, England, c1960s

There is no cure for the disease polio so prevention is vital in stopping its spread. In most people, polio causes flu like symptoms, although in extreme cases it can cause permanent muscle paralysis. To gain life-long immunity to polio, five doses of the vaccine are given at two, three and four months, forty months and between 13-18 years old. The polio vaccine, taken orally and sometimes on a lump of sugar, was available from 1954 onwards. Vaccination programmes have been successful as polio has not occurred in the United Kingdom since 1993.

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: poster

Notice, usually printed on paper, intended to be posted to advertise, promote, or publicise an activity, cause, product, or service; also, decorative, mass-produced prints intended for hanging.

Glossary: immunity

The condition of being immune, the protection against infectious disease conferred either by the immune response generated by immunisation or previous infection or by other nonimmunologic factors.

Glossary: polio

An infectious disease affecting the central nervous system. Affected individuals can exhibit a range of symptoms if the polio virus enters the blood stream.

Glossary: paralysis

The loss of function in one or more muscle groups. It causes loss of mobility and feeling.

Glossary: influenza

A highly contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system. Common symptoms of the disease are chills and fever, sore throat, muscle pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and general discomfort. In more serious cases, influenza may cause pneumonia, which can be fatal.