Stop Spread of Paralyzing Polio

Target: Tedros Adhanom, Director-General of the World Health Organization

Goal: Devote more resources to making inactivated polio vaccines widely available.

In the mid-2oth century, a different epidemic frightened the world. During that time, tens of thousands of individuals, often children, became paralyzed after contracting the polio virus. In the most extreme cases, patients died. Since the polio vaccine was developed decades ago, cases dramatically dropped, and the U.S. eventually declared the disease eradicated. Yet a pair of incidents indicate it could be making a comeback.

Recently, the virus was detected in London sewage. This development signals that polio may be emerging in a region that has not dealt with a significant outbreak since the 1980s. Lagging vaccination rates for children may be part of the problem. The discovery compelled United Kingdom (UK) health officials to declare a national incident. A short time later, New York confirmed its first known case of polio in over a decade. The patient in this case had apparently experienced some degree of temporary paralysis.

While the exact origin of these potential new cases is unknown, researchers theorize they may have started with individuals who took a risky oral form of the polio vaccine in which weakened virus is present. Although the United States has ceased producing these specific vaccines, they are still in use in other parts of the world. Individuals who use this type of vaccine are reportedly at increased risk of contracting polio and spreading the virus.

Sign the petition below to urge the planet’s leading health entity to invest more resources in making safe and effective polio vaccines available on a larger scale.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Dr. Adhanom,

The continued endemic nature of polio in nations like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria indicates that this once-crippling and feared disease never truly stopped being a threat. Presumed cases are even appearing in regions where polio was long believed eradicated, such as the United Kingdom and the United States. While symptoms are often mild and minimal, history has taught us that for too many the effects can be far more devastating.

Inactivated polio vaccines administered into the arm or leg are in all likelihood much safer and more effective than the oral vaccine forms that much of the world must rely upon. The theory that the recent UK and US incidents derived from individuals who had taken oral vaccines is no coincidence. Please help minimize the danger of an outbreak either in high-risk or low-risk areas.

Invest in equitable polio vaccine access for all nations. Ensure equality in healthcare and don’t let this horrible illness get a paralyzing grip on the planet once again.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Orthokin


3 Comments

  1. We don’t need another pandemic. Make the vaccines.

    • Evan Jane Kriss says:

      The polio vaccine has been around for decades. This is not an issue of making the vaccines but if distributing them to areas in need.

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