Fewer than half of teenagers in parts of England have been vaccinated against polio, official data suggests as health chiefs sound the alarm over a suspected outbreak of the disease that has been eradicated in Britain for 20 years.
Parents of unvaccinated children are to be contacted by the NHS as part of a targeted vaccine drive in London — where polio is thought to be spreading — amid fears the disease could take off for the first time in decades.
Children are routinely immunised against polio but eight local authorities in England — mostly in London — have 50 per cent or lower uptake among Year 9s.
Just 35 per cent of 13 and 14-year-olds are boosted in Hillingdon, West London, which has the worst coverage in the country, followed by Brent, where a third are fully vaccinated.
London has always lagged behind the rest of the country when it comes to vaccine coverage but rates dropped nationally during the pandemic, linked to a lull in appointments, school closures and a…