Department of Health concerned as the number of children being vaccinated against polio drops.

Dr Brendan O'Donnell, Dublin's Chief Medical Officer, explains that the autumn months have traditionally been the dangerous months for polio. The fact that people are outside more, eat out more and the prevalence of flies during these months make people more prone to infection at this time. 

According to Dr O'Donnell,

About thirty per cent of parents are still failing to have their children vaccinated.

There has been a dramatic drop off in vaccination levels in recent years. Just three years ago, up to ninety per cent of parents were having their children vaccinated. 

The polio vaccination is not painful. It's just a lump of sugar.

Dr O'Donnell puts the decline in vaccination numbers down to the adverse publicity that the whooping cough vaccine received a few years ago. 

The downturn in vaccinations comes at a time when there has been an outbreak of polio in The Netherlands, largely amongst those opposed to the vaccination on religious grounds.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 8 July 1978. The reporter is Michael Walsh.