Boys in a Sligo national school receive an oral vaccination against polio.

Polio (or poliomyelitis) is a highly infectious disease caused by a virus which mainly affects young children and can lead to paralysis, and in the most severe cases, death. There is no known cure. 

The last major polio epidemic in Ireland was in Cork in 1956, but a small outbreak of the disease occurred in County Westmeath in 1962. 

Vaccinations by injections have already been taking place, but in line with best international medical practice, the Department of Health has this month commenced a nationwide oral polio vaccination campaign. The aim is to wipe polio off the list of infectious diseases in Ireland.

Administered by the local health authorities in each county the scheme is free of charge to all children between the ages of six and eighteen years. Application forms are being distributed through schools.

The vaccine is administered here by Dr Patrick Power, County Medical Officer, in a Sligo national school, but clinics, parish halls any convenient assembly points are being used. 

Young people who are not attending school or who have left school and are under 18 years of age may apply to the County Medical Officer for vaccination. 

Thankfully for all recipients, no tears will be involved as the vaccine takes the form of a drop of syrup on a sugar lump. Three doses will be administered at intervals of six to eight weeks. 

Parents of children who have already received the vaccine by an injection are encouraged to apply for this new vaccine, as it will provide further immunisation against the disease.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 March 1965. This footage is mute.