Canada detects poliovirus in wastewater samples

News brief

Two days before Christmas, Canada reported vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (VDPV2) from two wastewater samples to the World Health Organization (WHO), the WHO's Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said in a Dec 30 epidemiologic update.

The Canadian samples that tested positive for the virus were collected in August as part of sampling targeted to areas with close connections to communities in New York where similar wastewater positive samples were found earlier. A third positive environmental sample from Canada, also collected in August, is pending confirmation by virus isolation.

PAHO said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is testing the Canadian samples to see if they are genetically related to VDPV2 samples from New York.

Canada did not report any acute flaccid paralysis (AFP) cases in 2022.

Wastewater sampling in US

Last summer, VDPV2 was confirmed in a young unvaccinated man without recent travel in New York's Rockland County who experienced AFP. The case marked the United States' first since 2013.

Expanded wastewater sampling in the wake of the case has identified the virus in several nearby counties, including in New York City, suggesting community spread of the virus. As of Dec 30, New York has identified 99 positive samples of concern, 92 of them with genetic links to Rockland County's AFP case. The most recent positive sample was reported in November from Orange County.

In 2022, similar environmental findings were reported from wastewater testing in London and Jerusalem. In early December, the CDC announced that a plan to expand wastewater testing for poliovirus to assess the extent of spread and focus vaccination efforts, starting with Michigan and Philadelphia.

Study notes racial disparities in kids' COVID vaccine uptake

News brief

COVID-19 vaccination rates among US children aged 5 to 17 years varied widely by race as of August 2022, with the highest coverage among Asian youth and the lowest in Black children, underscoring the need for culturally relevant information, according to a study published today in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) researchers analyzed data from the National Immunization Survey-Child COVID Module from 94,838 respondents with children 6 months to 17 years old from December 2020 to September 2022.

Booster coverage low

By Aug 31, 2022, 33.2% of all children aged 5 to 11 years, 59.0% of those aged 12 to 15, and 68.6% of 16- to 17-year-olds had received at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose. Uptake was highest among Asian children (range, 63.4% of 5- to 11-year-olds to 91.8% of those 16 to 17 years), followed by Hispanic youth (34.5% to 77.3%).

Coverage among Black and White children aged 12 to 17 were similar, but uptake among Black youth aged 5 to 11 was 4.0 to 33.6 percentage points lower.

The highest coverage was seen among children aged 12 to 17 years, those whose mothers had a college degree and had received at least one vaccine dose, and those whose household earned at least $75,000 a year and usually wore a mask in public in the previous week.

When considering only data collected from Jul 1 to Sep 30, 2022, 47.2% of all youth had received at least one dose, 43.3% completed the primary series, and monovalent booster uptake was 14.7%. Asian children had the highest booster uptake (22.4%), and Black children had the lowest (9.3%). White parents reported the most vaccine hesitancy (40.3%), while Black and Hispanic parents reported the least.

"To address disparities in child and adolescent COVID-19 vaccination coverage, vaccination providers and trusted messengers should provide culturally relevant information and vaccine recommendations and build a higher level of trust among those groups with lower coverage," the authors wrote.

This week's top reads