Posts Tagged ‘polio eradication’

Stories of Polio, Meningitis, HPV, Hepatitis and Pertussis Top 2016 List

December 28, 2016 Leave a comment

Every Child By Two’s online platforms have reached over 11 million people with evidence based vaccine messaging in 2016.  As we look back at the record number of views and shares there have been on Shot of Prevention blog posts this past year, we’re especially grateful to our blog readers, contributors and subscribers.  

Whether you have shared a post, shared your story, or shared your expertise, know that our growth and success would not have been possible without your support.  Thanks to you, people are referencing our content before making important immunization decisions for themselves and their families.  In these final days of 2016, we hope that you will revisit these top five posts from the past year and share them with others in your social networks.  Together, we can continue to engage more people in these important immunization discussions.


1. My Polio Story is an Inconvenient Truth to Those Who Refuse Vaccines

Judy Post Polio with SisterIn 1949, Judith contracted polio along with 42,000 other people in the U.S. Judith survived five months in the hospital and multiple surgeries, but sadly 2,720 people died from polio that year.  As Judith bravely shares her story, she explains that it represents an inconvenient truth to people who are in denial about the risks of polio. She is continually shocked by people who refuse vaccines, who refuse to believe she ever suffered with polio, or who actually believe the polio vaccine is part of a government or “big pharma” conspiracy.  By sharing Judith’s story we hope to encourage continued polio vaccination and support of polio eradication worldwide and applaud people like Judith who are courageous enough to speak out in support of vaccines.  To read Judith’s story, click here.


2. How My Vaccinated Daughter Died From Meningitis and What I’m Doing About It  

EmilyStillmanEmily Stillman was pronounced brain-dead just 30 hours from the onset of a severe headache.  What they though was a migraine turned out to be meningococcal disease. In this post Emily’s mother Alicia explains that although Emily received a meningococcal vaccine, the MCV4 vaccine she received only protected her against meningococcal serogroups A, C, W and Y.  It did not protect her against serogroup B, which is what caused Emily’s death.  Since Emily’s death, a MenB vaccine has been approved for use.  However, most parents still don’t know it exists and therefore, most students are still not protected.

As the Director of The Emily Stillman Foundation, Alicia Stillman helps educate people about the importance of “complete and total” protection against all serogroups of meningococcal disease.  This means ensuring that teens and young adults receive both meningococcal vaccines; the MCV4 vaccine that protects against serogroups A,C, W and Y, as well as a MenB vaccine series.  To learn more about fully protecting our youth against meningococcal disease, read Alicia’s guest blog here.


3. Questioning Whether to Get Your Child the HPV Vaccine? Read This

hpv-fact-vs-fiction-series-1Although the HPV vaccine is one of the most effective ways we have to prevent numerous types of cancer, it is still being grossly underutilized.  As a result of persistent but inaccurate myths circulating on the internet, some parents are more fearful of the HPV vaccine than the human papillomavirus itself.  This is causing them to refuse or delay HPV vaccination for their children.

In this popular blog post, we highlight ten critical facts that address the most common misconceptions about HPV infection and the vaccine that can help prevent this very common infection. To learn more, be sure to read the post here.


4. Understanding Why Your Baby Needs a Hepatitis B Vaccine at Birth  



There are many misconceptions about hepatitis B and how the infection is transmitted.  Because of this, many parents don’t consider their children to be at risk of infection and so they question the need for a hepatitis B vaccine at birth.  In this post, the Prevent Cancer Foundation explains the connection between hepatitis B and liver cancer and discusses ways in which infants and children can unknowingly contract hepatitis B.  Their Think About the Linkeducation campaign suggests that vaccinating infants before they leave the hospital is a critical first step in protecting your newborn from a virus that can lead to cancer later in life.  To learn more about Hepatitis B and the vaccine to prevent it, click here.


5. Barbara Loe Fisher is Right.  She’s Also to Blame. 


Back in the 1980’s, Barbara Loe Fisher claimed that the whole cell pertussis vaccine (DTP)  was dangerous and causing too many adverse events.  Her complaints prompted the development of the more purified (acellular) pertussis vaccines that we use today; DTaP for infants, and Tdap for adolescents and adults. While studies have shown that these newer vaccines are not as effective as the old whole cell pertussis vaccine, they are the best protections we have against the dangers of pertussis.

Unfortunately, those who need protection the most are those who are too young to be vaccinated.  Infants are at high risk of severe complications from pertussis, to include hospitalization and death, but babies don’t begin receiving pertussis vaccine until two months of age.  After newborn Calle Van Tornhout contracted pertussis from a hospital nurse at birth, she died at just 37 days of age.  Callie’s death has had her home state of Indiana considering a bill that would mandate pertussis vaccination among health care workers.  But Barbara Loe Fisher is opposed to that as well.  To read more about the history of pertussis vaccines, click here.


If you have suggestions for topics you would like us to address in 2016, or you would like to contribute a guest post for publication, please email  

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Thanks again for your continued support and best wishes for a happy and healthy new year!

How Are People in the U.S. Impacted By Polio Around the World?

October 18, 2016 1 comment

On October 24th, Rotary International will host the fourth annual World Polio Day event to raise awareness, funds and support to #EndPolioNow.

Since Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative nearly 30 years ago, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to 26 confirmed as of Sept. 19, 2016. Today, polio remains endemic in three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.


Until poliovirus transmission is interrupted in these countries, all countries remain at risk of importation of polio, especially vulnerable countries with weak public health and immunization services and travel or trade links to endemic countries. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to previously polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk.

Before we engage in the global discussion on polio eradication next week, we’ve asked Every Child By Two Board Member and infectious disease specialist, Paul A. Offit, MD, to elaborate on the “State of the ImmUnion” for polio here in the United States.  


This is what he had to say:

What is the most striking fact about polio that you wish people knew?

That once people are affected, there isn’t much you can do to make them better. The only real weapon against polio is the vaccine. Everything else—iron lungs, braces, hot packs, and occupational therapy—are far too little far too late.

How would you describe the current “State of the ImmUnion” for polio? Are there still cases of polio in the U.S.? Are enough people protected? How could people in the U.S. get polio?

Read more…

My Polio Story is an Inconvenient Truth to Those Who Refuse Vaccines

by Judith Shaw Beatty

In 1949, the year I was hit by the poliovirus, 42,000 cases of polio were reported in the United States and 2,720 people died, most of them children.


Here I am at the beach with my mom and my sister before I contracted polio.

I was diagnosed with paralytic poliomyelitis, which is experienced in less than 1 percent of poliovirus infections. Not only did it immobilize me completely from the neck down, it also attacked my lungs. It was August, a popular month for polio, and I was six years old.

A few weeks before, my parents, younger sister and I had moved from the outskirts of New York City to Rowayton, Connecticut, which back then was a small town of 1,200 people.  My father had gotten a job as associate editor at Collier’s Magazine and my mother was a homemaker, and our new two-story house with its big yard was in sharp contrast to the tiny apartment we had come from.

The poliovirus attacks very quickly.

I was playing with other children at a lawn party and developed such a terrible headache we had to go home. When I woke up the next morning, my legs were so weak I couldn’t stand on them and I could barely lift my arms. It took all day for the doctor to visit the house and examine me, and that night I was taken to the Englewood Hospital in Bridgeport and put in an iron lung.

My mother told me years later that the prognosis was very poor and I was expected to die within hours.


This photo was taken at a garden party, just one month before I contracted polio.

One of the children I was playing with at the party was John Leavitt, who many years later went to work in the field of biotechnology at the Bureau of Biologics of the FDA. Part of his work involved growing live poliovirus, and it was necessary to be tested for polio antibody titre. All those years later, he learned that he must have had the natural polio infection based on the results.

Now, looking back, we realize that while I went home and ended up in an iron lung, John ended up with a flu-like disease with no paralysis.  To this day, no one knows why the vast majority of people attacked by the virus recovered with no residual effect and so many others went on to spend the rest of their lives in wheelchairs.

After I was taken to the hospital, the health department put a yellow quarantine sign on the front of our house and at the end of our driveway.

My mother said that when she and Dad would go to the beach in town, people would grab their blankets and umbrellas and move. At the grocery store, my mother said she could hear people whispering and staring. No one wanted to be near my family. Everybody knew of somebody who had died from polio or was crippled by it, and 1949 turned out to be a record year. At its peak in the 1940s and 1950s, polio would paralyze or kill 500,000 people worldwide every year. And there was no vaccine for it, so there was no defense against this invisible, raging monster that struck indiscriminately.

I have no memory of being in the iron lung.

Read more…

Join Amanda Peet in the Fight to End Polio on World Polio Day

October 24, 2014 11 comments

Written by: Amanda Peet, Every Child By Two Vaccine Ambassador

Shot@Life035Last summer I traveled to Kenya as part of a UN Foundation/Every Child By Two delegation to ensure access to vaccines throughout the globe.  While there, our delegation traveled to a remote village to meet a little boy named Job Alphonse, who had recently contracted polio along with his sister and brother.  Sadly, Job’s mother confided that she had not vaccinated her children at the guidance of her former spiritual leader.  While three of her children had contracted polio, only Job’s case had caused permanent paralysis in his legs.

The community health nurses and UN staff explained that the family’s cases had galvanized Kenyans to conduct intense vaccination efforts to stop the spread of the disease in what was once a polio-free country.

amandavaxIt was heartwarming to meet families throughout the country who are truly grateful for the life-saving vaccines provided to their children, as well as the dedicated community volunteers who walk for miles to ensure that not one child is left without protection.  Witnessing these efforts truly solidified my commitment to raising awareness of the need to support global vaccination efforts.

Today, the vast majority of the world is polio-free. Nearly 80 percent of all polio cases are concentrated in just one country: Pakistan. The two other remaining polio-endemic countries – Afghanistan and Nigeria – continue to show progress. Nigeria has decreased polio cases by 87 percent and Afghanistan has recorded fewer than 10 cases of this devastating disease.

Tonight I am proud to be taking part in Rotary’s World Polio Day Livestream Event at 6:30 PM CST. During the event, viewers will receive an update on the status of polio eradication, featuring Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners, celebrity ambassadors, polio survivors and special guests.

Please join me tonight to learn how we can all take action to help eradicate this disease from the face of the earth!

Rotary_World Polio Day_graphic

Nurses Night Out Focuses On Polio Prevention

October 23, 2013 2 comments
This guest post was written by Melody Butler, BSN, RN, and pediatric nurse.  As the founder of Nurses Who Vaccinate , Melody has received various national honors, including the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Immunity Award and the Elsevier ‘Superheroes of Nursing’ Award presented at the 2013 ANCC National Magnet Conference.   Today she writes about her global health advocacy and the efforts she’s making to engage other healthcare professionals.


Melody Butler, BSN, RN, a pediatric nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, was recently honored with the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) Immunity Award. Sometimes, after a long night shift, the last thing I want to think about are patients and diseases. After spending 12 hours on a pediatric floor caring for sick children, I’m pretty tired and would be happy leaving ‘work at work.’ But as most nurses and healthcare workers will tell you, what we do isn’t a career or a job that stops when we clock out, but rather a calling and a ministry. It’s that sentiment that brings me to the global health advocacy I’m involved with long after I walk off my unit.

Thanks to modern-day medicine and amazing advancements in science, I rarely encounter patients who are suffering from vaccine preventable diseases. When I do care for these patients, their stories stay with me and I strive to prevent others from experiencing the pain they have had to suffer.  These experiences motivate me to stay up-to-date on immunization education and news on infectious diseases. When I encounter patients and families who have concerns and questions about vaccines I know that I’ve worked hard to provide accurate information so that they can make the best decision for their health and safety.

Nurses Who VaccianteIn my desire to make sure my fellow nurses and I stayed current with the medical research regarding immunization, I initiated Nurses Who Vaccinate. I then partnered with amazing organizations such as Every Child by Two and Families Fighting Flu to help educate others through social media efforts that reach beyond my local community and extend throughout the nation, and even the world.  I’ve learned that this year 1.7 million children will die from diseases that have all but disappeared in the U.S. Why? Because one in five children around the world does not have access to the life-saving immunizations needed to survive.

To address these global concerns, and work towards a solution, I became a Shot@Life Champion. In this role, I support the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life campaign, which educates, connects and empowers Americans to champion vaccines as one of the most cost-effective ways to save the lives of children in developing countries. Expanding access to vaccines strengthens our ability to fight disease globally, improves economic stability around the world and even keeps our families healthy here at home.

As a commitment to this cause I’m hosting a World Polio Day event called Nurses Night Out on October, 24th. Read more…

Personal Stories Reaffirm Our Commitment to Eradicate Polio

October 22, 2013 1 comment
Nurses Who Vaccinate is hosting a Nurses Night Out event on World Polio Day, October 24th in Islip, NY.  In an effort to spread the word, the question arose as to how to best phrase the news about World Polio Day.  Would it be to celebrate, honor or share?
To really make the most of World Polio Day, we must attempt to do all three.  We should celebrate the successes we’ve seen in the global efforts to eradicate this disease.  We must honor and recognize the organizations and individuals who work towards this important goal.  And while we’ll continue to share the encouraging statistics of our eradication efforts, we must also share the stories of polio survivors, whose personal experiences fuel our passion to inform others and reaffirm our commitment to these goals.

JudithPolio2While Judith S. Beatty may be just another woman in her 70’s today, she has written a heartfelt account of her personal experience with polio through the eyes of the young girl she once was.  Her complete story, which appears on Shot By Shot’s story gallery, exposes the emotional scars of polio survival, in addition to the physical aspects of the disease.

Judith begins her story in 1949; a time she describes as very promising, with her father returning from war and her family moving out of a dingy apartment outside of New York City to a two-story house in a small town in Connecticut.   However, when she contracted polio at the age of 6, life took a dramatic turn and her story reminds us of the culture of fear that permeated the times.

“I remember being very sick at that point and being dressed quickly and put in the car. I was taken to the Englewood Hospital in Bridgeport, about an hour away, and put in an iron lung. By that time I was paralyzed from the neck down. My mother related to me years later that they said I would die that night. It was no idle fear. The year I got sick, 42,000 children contracted polio and 3,000 died from it.”

“Fear of the disease was so strong that people shunned my parents after I fell ill. Our house was quarantined so no one could come in.”

The most heart-felt aspects of Judith’s story relate to the devastating isolation she experienced during her illness and the physical and emotional impact that polio had on the rest of her life. Read more…

Acts of Violence Interfere with Polio Eradication

October 8, 2013 8 comments

Today I’ll be picking my children up from school and driving them to the local health department where we will receive our seasonal influenza vaccines.   Within minutes, I expect we’ll be vaccinated and on our way home.  And all the while, I’ll consider myself and my children extremely fortunate to live in America.

rotaryNot only will our vaccine help protect us from the dangers of the flu this season, but previous vaccines keep me from worrying about many preventable diseases, such as polio.  Unlike many parents in foreign nations, I won’t have to walk for hours, carrying my children in my arms, hoping that by the time I make it to the vaccination clinic there will be someone there to administer the vaccine.  And I certainly won’t fear for our safety any time before, during or after the appointment.

And while I’ve been reading personal stories of polio survivors on the Rotary Voices blog this month, in preparation for World Polio Day on October 24th, yesterday’s headlines were a grim reminder of just how much American parents take for granted.

The New York Times reported,

“At least two police officers were killed and a dozen people wounded on Monday when a bomb went off near a health care facility where polio vaccines were being dispensed outside this northwestern Pakistani city.”

While not the bombs of a typical war, these bombs were certainly a violent way to intimidate people and deter vaccination in a country where polio is not yet eradicated.  And this is not the first time that polio vaccination workers, and their efforts to eradicate polio have been targeted.  The anti-vaccine sentiment in Pakistan is not only being fought with bombs and guns, but with rumors and lies.  While extreme religious leaders have suggested that the vaccines are intended to make Muslims infertile, others have accused polio workers of using vaccination campaigns as a cover to spy on behalf of the United States. Read more…