Thanks to the work of Rotarians in Vancouver, prominent landmarks such as BC Place, Vancouver City Hall’s clock were lit up in red, while Telus Science World shone bright Sunday Oct 24.
Elsewhere, you might have seen photos of prominent landmarks around the world glowing in red.
The Nasdaq at Times Square in New York City glowing in purple, for example.
It’s all due to Rotarians around the world displaying their commitment to eradicate polio on World Polio Day on Oct. 24.
Thanks to Rotary and our partners and our vaccination efforts, more than 19 million people are walking today. More than 1.5 million children’s lives have been saved. More than 2.5 billion children have been immunized. 
Polio is an infectious disease caused by a virus that can paralyze people at any age, but children under the age of five are most affected.
Polio had paralyzed 1,000 children every day when Rotary and its partners launched the Global Eradication Initiative – PolioPlus – more than three decades ago. Polio cases have decreased by 99.9 per cent from 350,000 cases in 1988 in 125 countries to 33 cases of wild polio in 2018 in the African continent and now just exists in two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Today, in 2021, only two cases of the wildpolio virus have been detected this year in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Taliban government has agreed to let Rotary and our international partners vaccinate Afghans and will allow door to door vaccinations which have been halted for several years for safety reasons. This is very encouraging in our efforts to eradicate polio. We are also confident in that our continuous monitoring for the wild polio virus and our environmental samples are showing no polio virus in them.
Thanks to American scientist Jonas Salk who developed the polio vaccine in 1955 and its widespread application along with the Sabin oral vaccine (introduced in 1962) eventually brought polio under control in Canada and the United States. Canada was declared polio free in 1978 while the Americas were eventually certified polio free in 1994, according to the Canadian Public Health Association.
Rotary has contributed more than $2.8 billion to ending polio since 1985. With it nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners must sustain the progress and continue to reach every child with the polio vaccine. Rotarians and our partners continue to vaccinate 400 million people every year.
Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million.

Even though with only two polio cases, we must continue our fight to end polio. 

That’s why if you see Rotarians in our red shirts with End Polio Now signage in your communities fundraising, it’s because of our desire to never see another person paralyzed due to polio. It’s why at our Rotary District 5040 Conference in May 2022 in Prince George, we’ll hold a polio walk to bring more awareness to the cause.
Check out the Global Update for the latest information.
It’s our commitment to End Polio Now.