Rockland County Health Department holds 3rd polio vaccine clinic in Pomona
The Rockland County Health Department held a polio vaccination clinic at 50 Sanatorium Road Building A in Pomona Friday.
The clinic was for anyone who is unvaccinated, has not completed the polio vaccination series or is at high risk for contracting polio.
Rockland County's recently confirmed polio case has some people taking extra precautions and even getting extra polio vaccines.
This re-emergence of polio has struck a chord especially with people who remember tough times before the virus was eradicated.
"I remember polio. I'm old enough for that," said county resident Terri Thal. She said she's pretty sure she had a polio vaccination as a child but was not completely sure. So just in case, she headed to the clinic to get vaccinated.
The news of the nation's first polio case in 10 years was confirmed in her community back on July 21, which shook her.
The Health Department says most of the 71 people they vaccinated were people over age 65 in the two polio vaccine clinics before Friday's.
"I remember in elementary school, a couple of kids with braces. One was a friend who had it. This was back in the '40s. As I said, I'm sure I was vaccinated, but I'm not positive," Thal said.
Another group besides seniors had reason to be cautious.
"We don't want to get contaminated," said Robert Kalishian, a county worker with Rockland County Sewer District 1. He and other county workers with Sewer District 1 recently learned that in June, the polio virus was detected in the sewer system.
Health officials said it might have been from the confirmed case in July.
While seniors and county workers are showing up to these clinics, the Health Department said its staff has vaccinated just two people under age 20.
The department has sent about 3,000 letters to families whose children are not up to date with their vaccinations.
Including vaccinations at the Health Department and at other facilities, county officials said nearly 400 vaccines have been administered since July 21.
They also said Rockland BOCES leaders are sending notices to schools about vaccine requirements for the upcoming school year.
State health officials say at least 98% of Rockland County students are vaccinated against polio.