In support of an international Rotary effort to eradicate polio, The Rotary Club of Greater Bend is launching the third year of raising funds to support the worldwide effort and is planning its March event called Pints for Polio March 29.
The event, set for Saturday, March 29 from 2-6pm in downtown Bend, will be a “pub crawl” type event where attendees will get a sampling of local beers from a dozen Bend pubs and restaurants.
Cost is $25 per person and all the proceeds from the event will go into the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. Attendees will receive a commemorative pint glass and a punch card good for six ounce beer tastes at a variety of downtown pubs to be used on the day of the event.
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 Mike O’Neil has made it a priority for the local club to raise funds to help eradicate polio. O’Neil 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 reduced from 125 countries in 1988 to half a dozen countries in 2013.
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.
Only three countries have never been polio free: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nigeria. Those three countries had fewer cases of polio in 2013 than any year in history. Rotary International recently announce that India has been Polio free for three years!
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.