Since 1987, Rotary has been leading the world wide effort to end polio so that no child anywhere has to endure the paralysis caused by polio.
For those of us in the west where polio has been eradicated a long time ago, the fact that Rotary has been leading the fight to end polio for over 35 years is almost anti-climatic. Consequently, it is sometimes hard to generate any enthusiasm among the community and fellow Rotary members to donate money to end polio. However, the recent news of a polio victim in New York state and the recent pandemic experience reminds us all that polio exposure is only a plane ride away.
Jon Bullock did an excellent job of sharing  a lot of information with us on the importance of Rotary's End Polio mission. He refreshed the memories of old timers who recalled events of the 1930's, 1940's and 1950's before Dr. Sauk and Dr. Sabin each developed their vaccines. And he educated the younger folks who were not around when parents where afraid to allow their children outdoors during the summer for fear of them contracting Polio.
Jon explained the difference between the two vaccines. Dr. Salk's vaccine being developed from dead virus cells and Dr. Sabin's vaccine being developed from live but weakened polio virus cells. He also, shared his personal experience of participating in a polio vaccination in India a few years ago and the challenges the team faced. Presently, we only have two endemic countries in the world; Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Jon explained that those who track polio exposure do so by the type of virus exposure; Wild Polio Cases such as those seen in Afghanistan and Pakistan where water and sewage systems are either non existent or poorly designed by western standards and the vaccine derived polio cases. 2022 case year-to-date data indicates that while the case of wild polio exposure have dropped to a mere 20 cases in Pakistan, 2 cases in Afghanistan and 7 cases in Mozambique, the number of vaccine derived polio cases is a more significant number of 486 cases in 18 countries. 
According to the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, "Vaccine-derived polio is extremely rare. Since 2000, more than 10 billion doses of OPV have been given to nearly three billion children worldwide, and just over 1,000 cases of vaccine-derived polio paralysis have been reported during that period. It also only emerges in under-immunized communities, which is one reason why vaccinating every child is so important: If communities are fully immunized, this helps prevent the spread of both wild and vaccine-derived polio."
The cost of Rotary's drive to fully immunize the final two endemic cases is easy to understand. But, with why does Rotary continue to raise 150 million dollars annually (including the Bill Gates Foundation match) when we only have two countries left? For two primary reasons; the cost to vaccinate is only part of the cost. A significant amount of our donations go toward infrastructure and laboratory monitoring of water and sewage systems throughout the world, looking for the presence of the virus in each countries water systems. The second reason is that the virus can mutate over time requiring even more research to assure vaccines can prevent the mutated polio virus from causing nerve damage and paralysis.
The numbers tell us that we are getting closer to total eradication. While the work of ending Polio seems...well, never ending, we need to keep in mind this quote from Bill Waterson, "We're so busy watching out for what's just ahead of us (such as global polio eradication) that we don't take time to enjoy where we are (99.9% polio case reduction & 20 million children spared the paralysis of polio since 1988).
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