“Public health threat – Wild Poliovirus


Measures to mitigate the risk of transmission of polio to Australia

The Department is introducing measures whereby certain visa applicants will be asked to provide

polio vaccination certificates. This is in response to the World Health Organization’s (WHO)

declaration that wild poliovirus transmission is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.



On 5 May 2014, the WHO released emergency instructions under the International Health

Regulations, advising that:

• Pakistan, Cameroon and Syria pose the greatest risk of further “wild poliovirus exportations”

in 2014. These countries must ensure vaccination of people who have been resident in these

states for longer than 4 weeks in the last twelve months prior to international travel as part of

an emergency order under the International Health Regulations.

• Afghanistan, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Somalia and Nigeria are infected with

wild poliovirus but not currently exporting outside their borders. These states nevertheless

pose a risk and the WHO has encouraged immunisation against polio.


New measures

If the visa applicant is applying from outside of Australia and has spent a period of 28 days or longer

on after 5 May 2014 in Afghanistan, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Iraq, Israel, Nigeria,

Pakistan, Somalia or Syria, or in any combination of these countries, they should be vaccinated

against polio prior to their departure. The visa applicant should provide their current certificate of

vaccination against polio. If they are lodging a new application, this should be provided at the time of



Applicants attending a medical appointment with a panel physician should be informed that they

should take their certificate to the medical appointment.

If the applicant does not provide the vaccination certificate at the time they apply, or at the time they

undertake their medical appointment, their case officer may request evidence of the client’s polio

immunisation status and this could delay the visa application.


For more information on polio, see the Department of Health website.

For further immigration about the migration health requirement, including the requirement for evidence

of polio vaccinations, see: http://www.immi.gov.au/allforms/health-requirements/


Source: Department of Immigration and Border Protection

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