Only a Couple Days Left to Register for Pints for Polio

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The Rotary Club of Greater Bend Pints for Polio event is set for 2-6pm Saturday, March 10. This is a pub walk, where attendees will get a sampling of craft beers from a dozen Bend pubs and restaurants.

Cost is $25 in advance/$30 at the door and all the proceeds from the event will go into the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Attendees will receive an End Polio Now pint glass and a punch card good for six ounce beer tastes at a dozen Bend pubs to be used on the day of the event. Attendees also receive discount restaurant coupons and a chance to win exciting door prizes.

Registrations can be made on-line at Greater Bend Rotary – Pints For Polio.

Check-in at Summit Saloon.

END POLIO NOW

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) is committed to achieving a polio-free world. Rotary is a spearheading partner in the GPEI, along with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal of the initiative is the global certification of polio eradication.

Local Rotarian and business consultant Cort Vaughan, a polio survivor, is chair of the End Polio Now Rotary Club of Greater Bend campaign. “I spent four months in the hospital at the age of two recovering from Polio,” explained Vaughan.  “The disease left my right leg paralyzed below the knee.  I do not want another child anywhere to be paralyzed by this horrible disease, which is why I am working with Rotary to immunize every child in the world.”

Current Rotary Club of Greater Bend President Carol Woodard-Kozimor has made it a priority for the local club to raise funds to help eradicate polio. Woodard-Kozimor reported that through the work of the GPEI, more than five million people, mainly in the developing world, who would otherwise have been paralyzed, are walking because they have been immunized against polio, and more than 500,000 cases of polio are prevented each year due to the efforts of governments and the GPEI partnership. Transmission of the polio virus has been stopped in all but four countries – Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan – and the virus is being contained within increasingly smaller geographic areas within those countries.

Vaccinating our families according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended immunization schedules, not only protects our loved ones, but our entire community as well.

LOCAL VACCINATION RATE

Vaughan explains that what that statement means by protecting our community is the concept of herd immunity.  “If someone infected with a communicable disease visits our community and only meets people who are immune, then the disease will not spread.  If that infected person comes in contact with a susceptible individual, then the disease can spread.  That is how epidemics get started.  The greater the proportion of individuals that are resistant, the smaller the probability that a susceptible individual will come into contact with an infectious person.  In this way unvaccinated people are indirectly protected by vaccinated people.”

Unvaccinated children actually threaten the rest of the population by decreasing our herd immunity.  A community must be about 85 percent vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.  “The vaccination rate in Deschutes County is about 93 percent, so we do have herd immunity,” Vaughan said.  However, school enrollment records from 2010/2011 indicated that some elementary schools on the west side of Bend had vaccination rates as low as 39 percent according to a news report in The Bulletin.   “This puts all of the children in those schools at risk.”

Routine childhood vaccinations eradicated Polio in the United States in 1975 and have almost eliminated Whooping Cough, Measles and other diseases that were once common.    Some parents mistakenly believe that those diseases no longer exist and that vaccinations are not necessary.  There have been recent outbreaks of Measles and Whooping Cough in multiple locations, including Washington, Oregon, and California.  None of these occurred in Deschutes County, however we are vulnerable. Recent outbreaks of Measles and Whooping Cough demonstrate that these diseases are still present and that routine vaccinations are critical to our health.

As part of the global polio eradication effort in 2010, 2.2 billion doses of the polio vaccine were administered to more than 400 million children during 309 vaccination campaigns in 49 countries. And there was a more than 90 percent drop in cases for two of the polio-endemic countries – India and Nigeria. Rotary International recently announced that India has been Polio free for an entire year!

According to the Oregon Public Health Authority, immunization is the safest and most effective public health tool available for preventing disease and death. Thanks to vaccinations, we have not seen or experienced many of the infectious diseases that gripped past generations such as polio, measles, rubella, diphtheria and tetanus.

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