‘Get vaccinated’ New York City detects Polio in wastewater, ‘anti-vaxxers’ blamed

'Get vaccinated' New York City detects Polio in wastewater, 'anti-vaxxers' blamed. Image: Kateryna Kon/Shutterstock.com

THE New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH) updated New Yorkers on Friday, August 12, stating Polio had been detected in the city’s wastewater.

The NYSDOH and the NYCDOHMH called for residents of New York to get vaccinated against Polio after the virus was detected in the wastewaters of the city.

“For every one case of paralytic polio identified, hundreds more may be undetected,” State Health Commissioner Dr Mary T. Bassett said.

She added: “The detection of poliovirus in wastewater samples in New York City is alarming, but not surprising. Already, the State Health Department – working with local and federal partners – is responding urgently, continuing case investigation and aggressively assessing the spread.

“The best way to keep adults and children polio-free is through safe and effective immunisation – New Yorkers’ greatest protection against the worst outcomes of polio, including permanent paralysis and even death.”

Health Commissioner Dr Ashwin Vasan said: “The risk to New Yorkers is real but the defence is so simple – get vaccinated against polio.

“With polio circulating in our communities there is simply nothing more essential than vaccinating our children to protect them from this virus, and if you’re unvaccinated or incompletely vaccinated adult, please choose now to get the vaccine. Polio is entirely preventable and its reappearance should be a call to action for all of us.”

On Thursday, July 21, New York’s Health Department issued an alert after detecting a case of Polio. Polio can lead to permanent paralysis of the arms and legs and even death in some cases.

Desi Cuellar said following the announcement: “So they just found Polio in the wastewater in New York but instead of fixing that we’ll give $80 billion to the Ukraine.”

One person on Twitter commented on the announcement, writing: “People really bought back an eradicated disease in 2022. I hate it here.”

The NYSDOH noted that “vaccine coverage for routinely recommended vaccines has fallen among children in New York City since 2019, putting us at risk for outbreaks and devastating complications of vaccine preventable diseases.”

It said: “Only 86.2 per cent of NYC children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years old have received 3 doses of the polio vaccine – nearly 14 per cent remain not fully protected.

“Of particular concern is neighbourhoods where coverage of children aged six months to five years old with three doses of polio vaccine is less than 70 per cent, putting these children at risk of contracting polio.”

“As of August 1, 2022, Rockland County has a polio vaccination rate of 60.34 per cent and Orange County has a polio vaccination rate of 58.68 per cent, compared to the statewide average of 78.96 per cent, among children who have received 3 polio immunizations before their second birthday,” it concluded.

Following the announcement, some people were quick to blame ‘anti-vaxxers’ for the new outbreak.

“Thanks, anti-vaxxers. NEW YORK (AP) — Health officials say polio has been found in New York City sewage, suggesting wider spread of virus among unvaccinated,” another wrote.

While another said: “Polio Has Been Detected in New York City Wastewater”. How have we gotten to this point in the U S? We should all be asking ourselves this question. #antivaxxers have brought us to this point, and we let them take us there. I will fight for #publichealth, not play politics.”

Another wrote: “Polio had been eradicated. Now it’s back in London and New York because some people refuse to get their children vaccinated. In a former incarnation, I worked for @UNICEF promoting childhood vaccinations in Africa. Parents there understood the dangers only too well.”

“The polio virus has been detected in wastewater from New York City, suggesting the virus is likely circulating there, New York’s health authorities just announced. Look what anti-vaxers and just plain irresponsible behaviour have wrought,” another person wrote.

Another said: “Thanks, anti-vaxxer buffoons. Polio detected in New York City wastewater.”

Anti-vaxxers were blamed for spreading an edited video purporting to show that Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director General of the WHO, is unvaccinated which sparked and perpetuated anti-vax sentiment online – despite the original version showing Tedros clearly stating he is vaccinated and being available online.


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Written by

Matthew Roscoe

Originally from the UK, Matthew is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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