Polio has exploded back into Americans’ consciousness after being out of the spotlight in the U.S. for half a century or so: In late summer, it paralyzed an adult in New York state, and the poliovirus has been detected in New York City’s wastewater. This week on the “First Opinion Podcast,” doctors Sallie Permar and Jay Varma make the case that pediatricians are the frontline for fending off this “old foe,” but they need help.
Not that long ago, almost every child in the U.S. was vaccinated against polio. That’s a huge reason why no cases of polio caused by wild poliovirus have originated in the U.S. since 1979. Today, though, kids aren’t getting their routine vaccinations, including those against polio, because of pandemic-related pediatric appointments being canceled or put off and the rise of the anti-vaccine movement.