Today we commemorate World Polio Day, 24 October, a day chosen to mark the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the team who create the first ever safe and effective polio vaccine. When this was announced the world came to a virtual stop, as people realised that there was a way to prevent one of the most feared diseases of the 20th century.
Now, polio survivors are living testament to the value of vaccinations, being the legacy of the time when polio cast fear into the hearts of parents – polio particularly affected children and there was no way to escape it, as our members know only too well. Unfortunately for the 7,000 polio survivors estimated to still live in Ireland, the vaccine came too late, or was not yet administered to them by the time polio reached their door.
Today we herald the work that Rotary International is doing to #EndPolio in countries where polio still exists, while we also remind people of the legacy of polio for those who live with late effects of the disease.
Polio is still given to babies as part of their 6 in 1 injection. On World Polio Day we take a moment to be relieved that we have this available to us.