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Help your child and others

Lu Snyder

SUMMIT COUNTY – It’s been a long time since people in the United States worried about polio – but that doesn’t mean they no longer need vaccinations.

“It’s not that the disease is gone, it’s still out there,” said Michelle Wilson Ball, immunization coordinator for Summit County Public Health Nursing.

The Summit County Rotary Club has created a program to encourage locals to immunize their children, and help children in Third World countries at the same time.

Several local corporations, including Keystone, Copper Mountain and Arapahoe Basin, have agreed to contribute up to $2,500 to the Rotary Club’s PolioPlus program, said Paul Siegert, director of international services for the Summit County Rotary Club.

Each company will donate $1 to $5 for each child who is immunized at the county’s Public Health Nursing office, or at Dr. Jim Bachman’s office at the Frisco Medical Center, now through October.

It need not be a polio vaccination, said Lori Profota, director of world community service for the Summit Country Rotary Club. A corporate contribution will be made for all childhood immunizations.

Though polio may no longer be a threat to Americans, it still is a problem in other parts of the world – including India, Nigeria and Afghanistan, Siegert said.

Rotary International teamed up with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the Centers for Disease Control in an effort to eradicate the disease from all parts of the world by 2005, Profota said. The international club is trying to raise $80 million to meet that goal, and the Summit County chapter is working to raise $10,000 as its part of that effort.

According to Ball, polio was one of the most dreaded childhood diseases in the early 20th century. Symptoms include pain and stiffness in the neck, back and legs. The disease can cause paralysis and can be fatal.

It wasn’t until 1955 that a vaccine was available.

Vaccinations have come a long way since those days, and Americans are fortunate enough now to receive the injectable version, which is an inactive form of the virus, Ball said.

In other area of the world, however, the oral immunization is more common. Partly a result of cost, but also because it’s much easier to administer, she said. “Because that doesn’t really require a nurse or a doctor to give it.”

By taking care of their children’s health, Summit County parents also can make a difference in this worldwide fight against polio.

“There’s a lot of young kids who are not in the position to give money to PolioPlus,” Siegert said. But if they get immunized during that time, “the corporations are giving (donations) on their behalf.”

“The goal really was to say get your child immunized and that will help another child in another country,” Bachman said.

Lu Snyder can be reached at 970-668-3998 x203 or lsnyder@summitdaily.com

PolioPlus Immunization Program

– To schedule an appointment with a participating clinic: Summit County Public Health Nursing, (970) 668-5320, Dr. Jim Bachman, Frisco Medical Center, (970) 668-3003

– For more information, or to make a donation to PolioPlus, call Lori Profota, (970) 468-2227 or visit the Rotary International Web site at http://www.rotary.org and click on the link for PolioPlus.


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