Another day, another alarming health crisis, and this time the state of New York is officially on high-alert following the recent news regarding local polio cases. It was announced earlier today that New York Governor Kathy Hochul has formally declared a state of emergency due to the growing polio outbreak within the state.
@NYTimes reports, in an effort to curb the spread of the current polio outbreak that is polarizing the state, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared an official state of emergency. Underneath Governor Hochul’s order, emergency service workers, midwives, and pharmacists have the full authority to administer the polio vaccine. Additionally, the state of emergency also includes requirements for local health care providers to send all polio immunization information to New York health officials to determine where vaccination efforts are needed the most.
Speaking about the urgency and seriousness of the polio outbreak, New York Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett, said “On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice. Do not wait to vaccinate.” You’ll recall that the very first case of polio in almost 10 years was discovered in New York back in July from an unvaccinated man in Rockland County, who was infected by someone who received an oral form of polio vaccine. However, it should be noted that oral polio vaccines have not been used in the U.S. for the last 22 years.
While oral forms of the polio vaccine are deemed safe to use, they contain small amounts of weakened polio virus that have the ability to strengthen and circulate among those who are not vaccinated or only partially.
In an even more shocking update, NYC officials also confirmed that polio has been found in 57 samples of the city’s wastewater between May and August—with the majority of the samples originating in Rockland County.