How the Polio Vaccine Continues to Change History

This month, unbeknownst to many, one of the largest public health interventions is occurring worldwide, and it is called "The Switch." One hundred and fifty countries are currently switching to a new polio vaccine as we near elimination of this devastating disease. If we are successful, this would be the second time in history that a virus infecting humans is eradicated from the earth. As we get closer to a polio-free world, it is important to reflect on the lessons we have learned through combating this disease.

Efforts to stop polio have helped train millions of health workers, brought health interventions to forgotten communities, and bolstered countries' ability to tackle other diseases. As a result, the global public health community has the opportunity to build a lasting legacy and make a sustainable difference to the health of some of the most vulnerable communities by using this well-established infrastructure. In this way, we can ensure that the investments made in polio eradication have broader benefits for years to come.

In celebration of World Immunization Week, this short video shows us the experience of polio through the eyes of a polio survivor and one of the world's foremost polio experts, Stephen Cochi.

Acknowledgements: Rotary International, Stephen Cochi, Paul Bianchi, and Molly Kurnit