A health worker administers a polio vaccine to a child in Karachi, Pakistan, Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. The government launched polio vaccination drives across Pakistan in hopes to eradicate the crippling disease by the end of the year. Credit: Fareed Khan / AP

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Although Africa was certified wild polio free just over a year ago — and although Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have made great strides over the past 30-plus years to reduce polio cases by 99.9 percent — I am reminded that we still have work to do following World Polio Day on Oct. 24. There are two countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where wild poliovirus still circulates and children remain at risk.

As we continue to navigate a world in various stages of battling the coronavirus pandemic, as a Rotary member and polio survivor, I am particularly aware of the important role vaccines play in halting the spread of disease. With that in mind, we must continue to support polio immunization efforts around the world, just as we continue to support those to mitigate COVID-19. For me that involves volunteering at COVID vaccine clinics and serving on the board of trustees at my local hospital; waiting to return to the polio campaigns overseas.

From sharing fact-based vaccination information, to encouraging vaccine acceptance, to advocating for polio eradication funding with elected officials, there is so much important work to be done: we must all do our part to continue the march toward global eradication. As long as polio exists anywhere, it remains a threat everywhere. People can visit http://www.endpolio.org to learn more about how they can get involved.

Ann Lee Hussey

South Berwick

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