Following reports of a dangerous polio outbreak in New York State, March of Dimes today expressed serious concern about the threat to public health as officials at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describe the reemergence of the disease as, “just the very, very tip of the iceberg.”
Having funded critical research that led to the polio vaccine in 1955, March of Dimes Senior Vice President and Interim Medical and Health Officer Dr. Zsakeba Henderson issued the following statement in response to this new threat:
“We are deeply concerned about reports that polio is circulating among unvaccinated individuals and urge all eligible people to get vaccinated against the disease. We recognize that COVID-19 led to a further reduction in routine vaccination rates in the U.S., putting families and communities at risk for deadly, preventable diseases. However, vaccines are among the most effective means of preventing infectious diseases. This outbreak can be stopped. We urge families to speak with their primary care doctor about routine vaccinations they may be missing. March of Dimes believes the health and wellbeing of all communities depends on the collective immunity provided by high immunization rates.”
March of Dimes has a proud history of supporting vaccines from the polio epidemic to our advocacy to eliminate non-medical exemptions so that all Americans get their vaccines. More recently the organization fought to expedite research that would fast track the development of a COVID-19 vaccine that is safe for pregnant and lactating women, which we now have.
The Vaccines for Children Program provides recommended vaccines at no cost to children. More information on vaccines and links to find local providers who deliver no cost vaccines to eligible families is available at www.marchofdimes.org/vaccines.