STATEMENT FROM MARCH OF DIMES INTERIM MEDICAL & HEALTH OFFICER ON THE REEMERGENCE OF POLIO

Arlington, VA | Thursday, August 18, 2022

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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

About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every family can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 84-year legacy, we support every pregnant person and every family.

Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.