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Polio Vaccine: The First 50 Years and Beyond

Reader comment on item: A Conspiracy Theory Spreads Polio

Submitted by Andria Spindel (Canada), May 25, 2005 at 23:49

The above is the title of a conference being held in Toronto, June 5-7, 2005 so your article is very timely. Of particular concern to the sponsoring organzations is the safe and consistent use of vaccines to prevent any outbreaks any where in the world.

Few articles have described what you speak of in your article, that the Islamic government in Nigeria held up the universal immunization program and hence the disease spread.

There is a most significant international goal: the global eradication of polio. The conference which is described at the following website www.iabspolio.ca is going to feature notable speakers who are world renowned vaccine experts, government regulators and manufacturers of polio vaccine. Every effort is being made to complete the task to which a global initiative was mounted about 20 years ago. The days of polio are numbered.

Among our speakers will be Dr. David Heymann whom you reference here. No political or religious dialogue is expected; the point is to make it scientifically safe to immunize and to see the task completed and then countries certified as polio free, which means no cases of polio for 3 consecutive years. The devastating effect of polio is well documented, well known by the hundreds of thousands who experienced it in North America, prior to 1955 when Dr. Salk created a safe vaccine. Dr. Jonas Salk and Dr. Albert Sabin were Jewish medical researchers who gave magnificently to the world. Today, WHO, Rotary International, Unicef and others are committed to the End of Polio.

Ontario March of Dimes is coordinating this important meeting and working daily to serve the tens of thousands of polio survivors who continue to experience the lasting effects of polio or the new post polio syndrome which disables many or increases the impairment of those first infected by this terrible virus.

I commend you Daniel, for being one of the only journalists who has provided more than a gloss over of the facts that lead to the spread of this terrible disease in times when it should no longer ravage the lives of human beings.

Andria Spindel

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