Bellevue Rotary and Polio Plus

Bellevue Rotary and Polio Plus

Polio Plus was (and is) a Rotary Foundation project to eradicate polio through a worldwide immunization campaign. The program started in 1985. The Rotary Foundation chose to concentrate on polio (as opposed to other diseases) because polio is carried only in humans. Many other diseases (malaria, etc.) are carried by insects or other animals, which makes eradication much more difficult. Polio vaccine is cheap and can be administered orally, not via injection, which makes it a much safer vaccine, especially in nations where HIV/AIDS and other blood borne illnesses are common.

Polio vaccine is cheap and can be administered orally, not via injection, which makes it a much safer vaccine, especially in nations where HIV/AIDS and other blood borne illnesses are common.

Bellevue Rotary’s kick-off event for Polio Plus fundraising was a wine, cheese, and art night at Haviland Winery in Woodinville, May 27, 1987. Our goal was to raise $75,000 — we raised $90,000 by May of 1988. Early boosters for the Polio Plus campaign were Len Quadracci, John Shaw, and Bill Jeude.

In 1988, inspired partly by Rotary’s efforts, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). In 1988 WHO reported an estimated 350,000 cases of polio worldwide. In 2009, there were 1604.

Throughout, Bellevue Rotary has continued to support the Rotary Foundation and its efforts to eradicate polio. Between 1990 and 2010, Bellevue Rotary contributed $105,000 to the Rotary Foundation.

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