When passion and raw determination are added to the miracle of modern vaccines, great things happen. Over the last 30 years, Rotary and its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have seen the reduction of polio cases worldwide, by 99.9 percent. But, as long as polio and the many other vaccine preventable diseases still circulate anywhere in the world, children in the US are still vulnerable and must continue to be vaccinated.
Over the last 2 years, the world has seen unsurpassed death and illness from yet another virus. In reading the Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation Position Statement on COVID-19 Vaccination, I am reminded that we have even more work to do. Here we are in the early months of 2022, with more than 950,000 American deaths as a result of COVID-19. 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 the effort to mitigate COVID-19.
What can we do? We can be sharing fact-based vaccination information. Rotarians throughout our state are supporting our PA Immunization Coalition(s). I have personally had the opportunity to speak out, along with another Rotarian survivor, for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia about the realities of life after experiencing the effects of a vaccine preventable disease. I was one of three polio survivors who were given the opportunity to answer this call in a blog by the PA Immunization Coalition (PAIC).
We can be volunteering at vaccine clinics and holding blood drives. We can be distributing packets of vaccine information that encourage vaccine acceptance, to day care centers, physicians and clinics. We have a lot we can be doing in our District to answer this call.
Engage with your Rotary Club to learn more about how you can get involved as a partner supporting these efforts in your community. We are doing this not only for ourselves, but for future generations.
We have witnessed the truth first hand. Vaccines Work!
Deb Stambaugh
Central PA Coordinator, PA Polio Survivors Network Hanover Rotary Club
Member of Adams/York and Lancaster County Immunization Coalitions Contact information: papolionetwork3@gmail.com