Photo Credit: NYS Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul / Twitter
New York Governor Kathy Hochul, Dec. 2, 2021

New York State has declared a polio state of emergency, paving the way to boost vaccinations against the disease with the inactive intramuscular vaccine used exclusively in the US since 2000.

Governor Kathy Hochul issued the executive order on Friday as the once-rare virus continues to spread across the state.

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The order expands the list of those authorized to administer the vaccine to include EMS workers, pharmacists, and midwives. It also authorizes physicians and certified nurse practitioners to issue non-patient specific standing orders for the vaccine.

Officials have detected the pathogen in wastewater samples from across New York City, some of the surrounding suburbs and in Rockland County.

“The polio in New York today is an imminent threat to all adults and children who are unvaccinated or not up to date with their polio immunizations,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett in a statement.

“Every New Yorker, parent, guardian, and pediatrician must do everything possible to ensure they, their children, and their patients are protected against this dangerous, debilitating disease through safe and effective vaccination.

“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice. If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date with vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.

“Polio immunization is safe and effective – protecting nearly all people against disease who receive the recommended doses,” Bassett added.

Polio immunization data will be sent by healthcare providers to the state health department to help with tracking the disease.

In Brooklyn, 81.2 percent of children have received all three shots in the series, the lowest rate in the five boroughs. The neighborhoods of Williamsburg, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Ocean Hill and Brownsville have the lowest vaccination rates in the city, according to Brooklyn Paper.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.