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Buena Vista’s Rotary Club, in partnership with Rotary International, is inviting everyone to join us in honoring World Polio Day on Oct. 24. Rotarians around the world will focus on ending polio worldwide. Rotary has had a long-term, sustained battle against polio for many decades and we are proud of all that has been accomplished.

An inactivated polio vaccine was developed by Jonas Salk and came into use in 1955. Massive vaccination programs were launched across the United States.

As a child I remember standing in line with my family and being handed a small paper cup containing a sugar cube that was the oral vaccine.

By 1961 Albert Sabin’s live polio virus vaccine was recommended by the U.S. Surgeon General to be licensed.

The vaccine provided protection against Type 1 polio virus. Soon Type 2 and 3 would be licensed and in 1963 a vaccine was developed that combined all three types.

In 1988, polio was still endemic in 125 countries, with more than 350,000 new cases a year worldwide.

Since then the Rotary’s Global Polio Eradication Initiative has reduced the incidence of polio by more than 99.9 percent, vaccinated more than 2.5 billion children against the virus, and prevented 18 million cases of paralysis. We are working to eradicate polio worldwide.

Today the World Health Organization recommends that all children be fully vaccinated against polio. Only one section of the world remains where polio is still endemic.

That is Afghanistan and Pakistan. Although there are many challenges in that region Rotary remains optimistic. We believe that one day we will end polio forever.

If you are interested in joining the Rotary Club in Buena Vista please contact Cara Reano at swtcar.uh@gmail.com.

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