As another European Immunisation Week (23-29 April) comes to a close, the need to raise awareness of the vital importance of vaccination has never been greater. When the world was paralysed by fear of Polio, it still took big campaigns and media support to swing public sentiment behind national immunisation. An immunisation drive in Hull in 1961 protected 385,000 people against Polio in Western Europe’s first mass vaccination. Two phone boxes were filled with 300,000 sugar cubes in the city this week, in memory of a campaign that spared Hull the paralysis, suffering and death Polio inflicted on so many others.
57 years on, rejecting immunisation allows terrible diseases once thought beaten, to potentially rise again. Those of us who remember have a duty to warn the current generation of the dangers they could be sleepwalking into. The British Polio Fellowship represents 120,000 people in the UK living with the life limiting neurological condition of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), as a result of contracting Polio back in the 50s and 60s. Global immunisation against Polio and other diseases is vital to prevent these killers from ever taking hold again. For further information about The British Polio Fellowship, visit www.britishpolio.org.uk or call 0800 043 1935.
National Chairman, The British Polio Fellowship