Question: “Why should kids be vaccinated for diseases like Polio that we don’t have in this country?”
Dr. LaSalle: The near eradication of Polio is one of our greatest public health and vaccine success stories. Thanks to vaccination efforts around the world, there are only a few countries remaining with endemic cases of polio, and the United States is not one of them.
But the reason we don’t stop polio vaccinations altogether is because this illness has not yet been completely eradicated from the planet. Our world is much smaller than it used to be. Travel between countries occurs frequently and with ease. If we let down our guard, and allow immunization rates fall, we are only one plane ride away from having this deadly and debilitating disease re-introduced to our population.
We were given a taste of the return of vaccine-preventable disease in 2018-2019 when the world saw record numbers of measles cases and a sharp increase in measles-related deaths. As immunization rates fall, cases of vaccine-preventable disease rise. This is why doctors and nurses and public health experts are SO invested in fighting vaccine misinformation. None of us want to see a return of these devastating diseases or to see you or your child suffer.
Until Polio and other vaccine-preventable diseases are wiped off the face of the planet, we have to remain vigilant in our vaccination efforts or these diseases will return!