Burnham Health Pharmacy

Polio, diphtheria & tetanus

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Diphtheria is a highly contagious and potentially fatal infection that can affect the nose and throat, and sometimes the skin. It’s rare in the UK, but there’s a small risk of catching it while travelling in some parts of the world.

Tetanus is a serious but rare condition caused by bacteria getting into a wound.

Polio is a serious viral infection that used to be common in the UK and worldwide. It’s rare nowadays because it can be prevented with vaccination.

About the vaccine

Diphtheria, Tetanus and Polio are contained in a single combined vaccine. The vaccine is inactivated and contains dead bacteria or virus only and is highly effective at preventing the infections. Immunity does wane over time. Therefore, further vaccinations may be required. Separate vaccines against the diseases are not available in the UK. The Department of Health does not recommend the use of the oral polio vaccine due to the potential risks associated with this live vaccine.

The combined vaccine is give in the UK childhood programme with pertussis (whooping cough) at age 2 months, 3 months and 4 months. Further booster doses are given at 3-5 years of age and again at 14 years of age.

What is polio?

Polio is a serious viral infection that used to be common in the UK and worldwide. It’s rare nowadays because it can be prevented with vaccination.

Most people with polio don’t have any symptoms and won’t know they’re infected.

But for some people, the polio virus causes temporary or permanent paralysis, which can be life threatening.

Cases of polio in the UK fell dramatically when routine vaccination was introduced in the mid-1950s.

There hasn’t been a case of polio caught in the UK since the mid-80s. But the infection is still found in some parts of the world, and there remains a very small risk it could be brought back to the UK.

There’s no cure for polio, so it’s important to ma

What is tetanus?

Tetanus is a serious but rare condition caused by bacteria getting into a wound.

In 2019 there were only 4 cases of tetanus reported in England. The number is low because an effective tetanus vaccine is given as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.

Most people who get tetanus have either not been vaccinated against it or did not complete the entire vaccination schedule.

What is diphtheria?

Diphtheria is a highly contagious and potentially fatal infection that can affect the nose and throat, and sometimes the skin. It’s rare in the UK, but there’s a small risk of catching it while travelling in some parts of the world.

Diphtheria is highly contagious. It’s spread by coughs and sneezes, or through close contact with someone who’s infected.

You can also get it by sharing items, such as cups, cutlery, clothing or bedding, with an infected person.

How safe is the vaccine?

The 3-in-1 vaccine is a very safe vaccine.

As with all vaccines, some people may have minor side effects, such as swelling, redness or tenderness where the injection is given.

Sometimes a small painless lump develops, but it usually disappears in a few weeks.

The brand name of the 3-in-1 vaccine given in the UK is Revaxis. Book Appointment for Travel Vaccine

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