The Washington Post
Polio threat rises as vaccinations decline
The Pan American Health Organization says Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and Peru are at very high risk for the reintroduction of polio, as dwindling vaccination rates during the coronavirus pandemic have led to historic lows in protection against the crippling disease. Regional vaccine coverage for polio has fallen to about 79 percent, the lowest since 1994, the PAHO said.
Argentina, the Bahamas, Ecuador, Panama, Suriname and Venezuela have also had been identified as high-risk countries, and nearly all of South America currently has vaccine coverage below 80 percent.
Polio can cause irreversible paralysis in some cases but can be prevented by a vaccine first made available in 1955. While there is no known cure, three injections of the vaccine provide nearly 100 percent immunity.
The PAHO said dwindling vaccination caused by the coronavirus pandemic had left many unprotected from polio, after vaccines had eradicated the disease in the region 30 years earlier.