Home > Get Involved, Preventable Diseases > You Can Help in the Fight to End Polio

You Can Help in the Fight to End Polio

ThisCloseAd_Peet_ENI am grateful that as a parent here in the United States, I’ve never worried about my child suffering from polio. However it wasn’t that long ago that parents, even in the U.S., were consumed with worry.  As I read Elizabeth Atalay’s article on the World Mom’s Blog recently, I realized my own parents could have been among those who suffered from polio.  And while polio may not be a concern to parents in the U.S. these days, we only have to look at our global brothers and sisters to understand why we must continue our efforts to eradicate this crippling disease.

Currently, Nigeria is the world’s most endemic country for polio, followed by Pakistan and Afghanistan.  According to data from the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), the total number of wild polio cases in 2012 was 222, with Nigeria having the highest number of 121.

Fortunately, eradicating polio has been a priority of Rotary International since 1985.  When Rotary began the fight to end this disease, polio infected nearly 350,000 people – mostly children – in 125 countries every year. Since then, the number of polio cases has plummeted by more than 99%.

Looking back, 2012 was a historic year in the fight to end polio:

• 429 million children were vaccinated against polio.
• The year ended with the fewest wild polio cases, in the fewest places ever in history.
• Less than 300 polio cases were reported in 2012 – 60% less than 2011.
• India celebrates two years polio-free this month

So now, after nearly 30 years, and more than 2 billion children immunized against polio, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of making history.  To help in the ongoing fight, Rotary is asking everyone to join in the World’s Biggest Commercial.

What is the World’s Biggest Commercial? 

It’s an opportunity for people everywhere to make history by joining in a commercial starring thousands of people — leaders, celebrities, and even supporters like you and me living in every part of the world.  Join Bill Gates,  Jackie Chan, Ziggy Marley, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, and Every Child By Two’s very own immunization champion, Amanda Peet, in Rotary’s “This Close” campaign. All you have to do is upload a photo of yourself making the “This Close” gesture to be added into the constantly growing commercial. Thanks to a $50,000 donation from PhRMA, every photo uploaded translates to a 60 cent donation – enough to protect a child from polio for life.

According to a recent article in Vanguard, Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, recently underscored his commitment to the global effort to eradicate polio while addressing the prestigious Dimbleby Lecture in London.  He declared:

“We are on the verge of doing something we’ve never been able to do before; reaching the vast majority of children in the remotest places in the world.  We are building systems, developing technology, and training workers that make it possible to help people who never got any help.  When polio is gone, we can use the same systems, technology, and people to deliver other lifesaving solutions, especially routine vaccinations for diseases like rotavirus and measles.”

It’s true that when polio is eradicated, it will be a huge global health victory.  However, as Bill Gates explains, the benefits will extend far beyond polio, paving the way for other important health improvements in some of the most remote places in the world.

thiscloseCVHowever, we need to finish this fight first.  If we don’t finish it now more than 10 million children under the age of five could be paralyzed in the next 40 years. And we are “this close”.

Visit End Polio Now to find out how you can help make history. Add your photo to the World’s Biggest Commercial.  Share your voice on Facebook and Twitter.  Or fund the fight with a simple donation.  When a child can be vaccinated for a mere 60 cents, even the smallest of donations can make an enormous impact.

  1. February 6, 2013 at 11:39 am

    That’s fantastic news once again. And yes, once the technology & infrastructure is in place, it will be that much easier to go down the list and work on the next set of diseases we can eradicate.

    At the end of the day, if we are able to eliminate these diseases, it means the vaccines will no longer be necessary – why are the anti-vax people fighting so hard to protect the profits of the pharmaceutical companies?

    No disease means no vaccine which means no profits or profit motive – isn’t that a good thing (in the minds of anti-vax folks, right)?

    Like

  2. Gimmer
    February 6, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    No Vaccines? There will always be vaccines. If the disease is eliminated, there will still always be the threat of it coming back. So they will keep on vaccinating. Besides, the manufacturers would never lose that kind of money.

    Like

  3. Chris
    February 6, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Gimmer, when did you last have a smallpox booster? Polio can be eradicated from this planet, but it will take time.

    Like

  4. Gimmer
    February 6, 2013 at 2:34 pm

    Who needs small pox boosters? There are plenty of other vacccines filling their pockets with $$$$ and I am waiting for the vaccine that helps you lose weight and the vaccine that stops you from going gray. Can’t wait to see what they come up with.

    The Polio vaccine is actually keeping Polio alive and well. The recent Polio cases in the US are caused by the vaccine itself.

    Like

  5. Chris
    February 6, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    So you would rather have people get sick than prevent illness? So, please, tell us how preventing polio with vaccines gives more money to Big Pharma than treating those who get paralyzed from polio.

    Also, there is a reason that the USA uses IPV instead of OPV.

    Like

  6. Gimmer
    February 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm

    LOL – giving the vaccine actually gives people Polio….that is making them sick not preventing it.
    How much money do they make for every vaccine given? How many vaccines are given world wide? I’m sure that is a lot of $$$$
    How many actually get paralyzed from Polio? You may have had Polio and not even known.

    Like

  7. novalox
    February 6, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    @gimmer

    [citation needed].

    Like

  8. Chris
    February 6, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Gimmer, please show us how you can interpret data. Open up this 37 page pdf document, and go to page 30. Look at the table and tell us what number is the the left of the word “Vaccines”, then tell us what it means.

    Like

  9. M. Salk
    February 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    giving the vaccine actually gives people Polio

    1. Vaccine-related polio
    2. Vaccine-derived polio

    Let the germ denialism begin.

    Like

  10. February 6, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    @Chris – yet another anti-vax head that believes that it is cheaper to treat, rather than prevent disease…….

    Like

  11. February 6, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    @insano-troll – why do you keep trying to avoid the ban-hammer?

    Like

  12. Gimmer
    February 6, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    Chris, please show me you can cook. Please go to your oven and put in a roast. Let it cook for a few hours and take it out….please tell me, what do you see?

    Like

  13. Chris
    February 6, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    I see delicious food. Tonight it is herb crusted pork tenderloin with roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, and thinly sliced cauliflower with paprika.

    Now please show us if you can read a table. All you have to do is give us the number to the left of the word “Vaccines” and explain what it means.

    Like

  14. February 6, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    @Gimmer – now how about answering our question – do you believe it is more profitable to treat or prevent disease?

    Like

  15. Gimmer
    February 6, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    Sounds delicious!

    Like

  16. Chris
    February 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Now, Gimmer, go to page 30 of the document I linked to, and tell me what number is the left of the word “Vaccines.” Explain what it means.

    Like

  17. Lara Lohne
    February 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    From what I’ve read, the last wild polio virus infections in the USA were in 1979. Since then, there have been a few reported cases of vaccine-derived poliovirus (VDPV) typically in unvaccinated and/or immunocompromised individuals who were exposed to it by someone else in a different country who had received the OPV within two months. Vaccination with OPV has been replaced with IPV in the USA since 2000 and can protect against wild poliovirus as well as VDPV. This information, and more, can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/polio/dis-faqs.htm

    Like

  18. February 6, 2013 at 8:59 pm

    Given that we’ve seen only a very few (less than 10 in the last decade) infections, in a very niche group of individuals (immuno-compromised, got OPV overseas, etc), I think it is very safe to say, that for the 99.99999% of Americans out there, the polio vaccine is a non-issue for safety.

    Like

  19. Lara Lohne
    February 6, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    Exactly, Lawrence. Another thing of note in that link is those few children who contracted VDPV were all unvaccinated and none were paralyzed nor died of it. That was in 2005. It stated the 2009 case was the death from complications of paralytic polio VDPV she had been exposed to 12 years prior, and she was also immunocompromised. All the more reason vaccinations are important for all those who can be to get, because those who cannot get the vaccines, are the ones more likely to succumb to the disease, wild type or otherwise as in this case.

    Like

  20. Chris
    February 7, 2013 at 1:00 am

    And the other important thing to remember is that there are only a few countries left that still have polio. Just like smallpox, it can be eradicated.

    Like

  21. February 7, 2013 at 6:58 am

    @Chris – I certainly hope so. It won’t be easy, given the areas in which we still find wild cases to be some of the most difficult places to operate in on Earth (like the Tribal Areas of Pakistan or Northern Nigeria). Social Unrest and war are the biggest obstacles to the eradication campaign right now…..

    Like

  22. novalox
    February 7, 2013 at 10:28 am

    @Lawrence

    Considering the way that the CIA used a vacination campaign to get information on the location of bin Laden, I would think that anti-Americanism sentiment in Taliban-controlled areas in Pakistan and Afghanistan may also play a role as well.

    It doesn’t excuse the Taliban from preventing the dissemination of the vaccination in their areas. I do hope that their minds can be changed and that polio doesn’t become endemic there, which would frustrate attempts to end polio once and for all, which would be a shame.

    Going back on topic somewhat, I did submit my picture at the website. Hopefully, it will help.

    Like

  23. February 7, 2013 at 10:35 am

    @novalox – given the “leak” situation that is rampant in US intelligence, I can’t believe they didn’t realize how damaging this was going to be, if it became known…..now all it has done is make it that much harder to reach these people & put more lives at risk (on both sides of the fence – vaccine professionals & the patients).

    I was also just reading that there is a big problem in Pakistan involving Iodized Salt – that some are claiming it is part of an “anti-fertility” campaign against Muslims, but all it is doing is causing huge health problems among children (the lack of iodine).

    Crazy exists everywhere, unfortunately.

    Like

  24. February 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    once again more propaganda. Polio was over 8-% on the decline BEFORE vaccines. In fact if you look at Afghanastan, there so many Polio children that were recently vaccinate. Of course it could not be the vaccine, so they call it Polio -like. Sadly, Jonas Salk admitted on his deathbed that the vaccine caused more Polio than Polio itself.
    When you stop defecating in the same water that you drink and bathe in, you will see a tremendous decline. Polio is nearly gone from sanitation. NO VAX…

    Like

  25. February 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    @(nota)DrS – you are the one that is spouting off nonsense without any evidence to back it up. How can you possibly be so ignorant of basic biology or immunology (not to mention disease history)?

    I’m sure Chris will be around to post up the various graphs that show the decline in the incidence of diseases like Polio & Measles (re-posted many times on this blog to refute individuals like yourself, who don’t know any better), to show that the real decline (to almost eradication) didn’t occur until after the institution of mass-vaccination programs.

    Also, given that the eradication of polio is almost complete, the few cases that are found are “laboratory-confirmed” so it is possible to separate out those that are truly infected with polio vs. other diseases that only present in a similar fashion (but aren’t polio).

    Again, your ignorance is truly showing.

    Like

  26. February 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    @(nota)DrS – well, for a start:

    http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/pubs/pinkbook/polio.html

    Care to explain what major breakthrough in sanitation occurred in the United States between 1950 & 1960?

    And while you are at it, do you even understand the difference between incidence & mortality rates?

    Like

  27. Peggy
    February 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Lawrence, they changed the “medical diagnostic” definition of Polio at the same time the vaccine came out, thus…lower numbers.

    Like

  28. February 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    @Peggy – and you’ll be happy to provide a citation for that, right?

    Care to explain what “miracle” of sanitation resulted in the elimination of polio from most of Africa (with the exception of Nigeria) over the past two decades?

    Like

  29. Chris
    February 7, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    (not a real) Dr. S:

    Polio was over 8-% on the decline BEFORE vaccines.

    Citation needed. But here are the numbers from actual census data (http://www.census.gov/prod/99pubs/99statab/sec31.pdf):
    Year…. Rate per 100000 of polio
    1912 . . . . 5.5
    1920 . . . . 2.2
    1925 . . . . 5.3
    1930 . . . . 7.5
    1935 . . . . 8.5
    1940 . . . . 7.4
    1945 . . . 10.3
    1950 . . . 22.1
    1955 . . . 17.6
    1960 . . . . 1.8
    1965 . . Less than .05
    1970 . . Less than .05
    1975 . . Less than .05
    1980 . . Less than .05

    And the CDC Pink Book Appendix G:
    Disease: Polio in the USA
    Year__Cases____Deaths
    1950__33,300___1,904
    1951__28,386___1,551
    1952__57,879___3,145
    1953__35,592___1,450
    1954__38,476___1,368
    1955__28,985___1,043
    1956__15,140_____566
    1957___5,485_____221
    1958___5,787_____255
    1959___8,425_____454
    1960___3,190_____230
    1961___1,312______90
    1962_____910______60
    1963_____449______41
    1964_____122______17
    1965______72______16
    1966_____113_______9
    1967______41______16
    1968______53______24
    1969______20______13
    1970______33_______7

    Now please point out that 8% decrease before 1955.

    Peggy, citation please from you too. Considering that there are three separate strains of polio identified for the vaccine in the first half of the twentieth century, and genetic analysis has improved since then: you really need to explain your comment more thoroughly and with actual scientific citations.

    Like

  30. novalox
    February 7, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    @Lawrence

    Yeah, crazy exists everywhere, unfortunately. Just look at the trolls in this forum.

    But getting to the point, the Taliban’s refusal is a more deadly form of crazy, in that innocents may develop paralysis, die, or get killed.

    You would think seeing the evidence of their wanton ignorance would change their minds, but the Taliban is stuck in some medieval form of orthodoxy in their minds, and no amount of reasoning or evidence would change their minds.

    Just like the majority of anti-vaxxers, come to think about it.

    @dr s

    You do know that I have saved several screenshots of your threats, right? If you are ever crazy enough to actually carry out your threats, I will email the proper authorities.

    Like

  31. February 8, 2013 at 9:31 am

    @Novalox – this is real proof that anti-vax views kill:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/08/gunmen-nigeria-kill-polio-workers

    Like

  32. dingo199
    February 10, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    I am usually very altruistic and never wish harm on anyone, but for once I would like some miraculous intervention to strike these brainless idiots down with some lethal disease with a lingering and painful progressive course, accompanied by paralysis below the neck (they are already dead from the neck up).

    Like

  33. February 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm

    That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.
    Brief but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one.
    A must read post!

    Like

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