Most Americans consider polio an illness from a bygone era, in a time capsule with the Kennedys, the Cuban missile crisis and the Beatles. But in places like Ethiopia, where I grew up, polio remains a serious public-health concern. It is not uncommon to see people with the disfigured or stiff limbs that mark the disease.
For more than 13 years, I have been traveling to Ethiopia with fellow members of the Rotary Club to provide polio vaccines to children. Two small drops of the vaccine will change every child’s life.
I moved to Seattle in the early ’70s and raised four children here. I am committed to ensuring no child ever suffers the paralyzing effects of polio again. Imagine my horror to learn some students in Washington state are unvaccinated, in violation of legislation passed this summer repealing philosophical and personal belief exemptions to vaccine requirements.
Thursday, Oct. 24, is World Polio Day and an opportunity to reflect on how close we are to ending polio for good. I encourage readers to vaccinate their children against polio and all vaccine-preventable diseases. Immunizations are vital to ensuring our children have a safe and healthy future.
Ezra Teshome, Seattle