Polio is spreading in the US for the first time in decades. Do you need a booster?

A specific type of polio virus is spreading both in Rockland County, New York and neighboring areas, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to add the United States to a list of countries (opens in new tab) where similar polioviruses have been detected. The list includes about 30 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, such as the United Kingdom, Israel, Yemen, Algeria and Niger.

The official addition of the US to this list was announced last week by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (opens in new tab) (CDC) and the news raised questions about what happens next. Do people who received all their polio vaccine doses as children now need a booster? What should you do if you are not sure about your vaccination status, or if you are sure that you have not received the polio vaccination?