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End Polio Now


PDG Peter Garnett, Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator —

Polio is found in the U.K. for the first time in nearly 40 years.

Article by PDG Peter Garnett, Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator

Today we are closer than ever to eradicating polio worldwide. However, we cannot afford to relax; we must fulfil the promise we made to the children of the world of a world permanently free of polio.

There is no doubt the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected health services around the world, including routine vaccination and epidemiological surveillance of vaccine-preventable diseases, putting at risk the progress achieved.

As we have seen with COVID, Polio is only a flight away for the unvaccinated!

The following two recent discoveries of poliovirus reinforce this:

Polio is found in the U.K. for the first time in nearly 40 years


Following the discovery of type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus in sewage in north and east London, the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that a targeted inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) booster dose should be offered to all children between the ages of 1 and 9 in all London boroughs. This will ensure a high level of protection from paralysis and help reduce further spread of the virus.

Polio Has Been Detected in New York City Wastewater, Officials Say.

The New York Times

The detection of the virus in sewage suggests it is circulating in the city, Health Department officials said.

A pop-up vaccination clinic was opened in Rockland County, N.Y., where a polio case was detected earlier this summer. Health authorities have urged people who are not vaccinated against polio to get immunized. Credit...Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) - Updated statement on report of polio detection in United States, 29 July 2022

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has been informed of a case of paralytic polio in an unvaccinated individual in Rockland County, New York, United States.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are coordinating with New York State health authorities on their investigation. Initial sequencing confirmed by CDC indicates that the case is type 2 VDPV. [vaccine-derived poliovirus]

Following the detection, the Global Polio Laboratory Network (GPLN) has confirmed that the VDPV2 isolated from the case is genetically linked to two Sabin-like type 2 (SL2) isolates, collected from environmental samples in early June in both New York and greater Jerusalem, Israel, as well as to the recently-detected VDPV2 from environmental samples in London, UK. Further investigations – both genetic and epidemiological – are ongoing to determine possible spread of the virus and potential risk associated with these various isolates detected from different locations around the world.

It is vital that all countries, in particular those with a high volume of travel and contact with polio-affected countries and areas, strengthen surveillance in order to rapidly detect any new virus importation and to facilitate a rapid response. Countries, territories, and areas should also maintain uniformly high routine immunization coverage at the district level and at the lowest administrative level to protect children from polio and to minimize the consequences of any new virus being introduced.

Any form of poliovirus anywhere is a threat to children everywhere. It is critical that the GPEI Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-2026 is fully resourced and fully implemented everywhere, to ensure a world free of all forms of poliovirus can be achieved. 

Polio cases — Image by: Issa Shalhoub

Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to be the only two countries where polio is endemic. Even here there we cannot relax, with Pakistan having seen an increase in number of cases again this year

Today more than ever, It is critical for Rotarians around the world to continue to support this, Rotary’s No 1 priority project. Our total Zone contribution to Polio Plus fund, while slowly recovering from the impact of COVID, last year was only 75% of the pre-COVID level.  

Zone 8 Polio Contributions

In many districts in our Zone less than 50% of clubs contribute to PolioPlus.

We must with renewed determination, look to fulfil our promise of a world permanently free of polio. Please encourage your club to make a contribution to the Polio fund this year.