Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

July 21, 2022
Contact: Beth Cefalu, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


RCDOH will have two polio vaccination clinics at the Pomona Health Complex (details below)

** Rockland County will be holding a press conference for members of the media today, July 21st, at 2:00 pm at the Pomona Health Complex in Building A **

NEW CITY, NY - County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert encourage residents who are unvaccinated, have not completed the polio vaccination series, or are at high risk for contracting polio even if they have completed the primary series to get vaccinated as soon as possible. A confirmed case of polio in a Rockland County resident was announced in partnership with the New York State Department of Health earlier today.

Polio is a viral disease that may affect the neurologic system, causing muscle weakness and, in certain cases, resulting in paralysis or death. Typically, the virus enters the body through the mouth, usually from hands contaminated with the fecal matter of an infected person. Respiratory transmission and oral to oral transmission through saliva may also account for some cases.

Up to 95 percent of people infected with polio have no symptoms, yet they can still spread the virus. About four to five percent of infected people have minor symptoms such as fever, muscle weakness, headache, nausea, and vomiting. One to two percent of infected people develop severe muscle pain and stiffness in the neck and back. Less than one percent of polio infections result in paralysis.

Due to the vaccine's success, which was introduced in 1955, and a national vaccination program, polio cases were cut dramatically in the late 1950s and early 1960s, with the last naturally occurring cases of polio in the United States in 1979.

As the polio vaccine continues to be included in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) standard child immunization schedule, those already vaccinated are not considered at significant risk. Since 2000, only the inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) has been given in the United States. IPV is given by a shot in the arm or leg, depending on the person's age, and is very effective in ensuring protection. IPV is not a live virus vaccine so there is NO RISK of getting polio disease from the IPV.

The first step in the county-led response will be this Friday, July 22nd, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, when the Rockland County Department of Health will offer a polio vaccination clinic at the Pomona Health Complex, 50 Sanatorium Road, Pomona, NY, in Building A. A second clinic will be held at the same place on Monday, July 25th, from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

To pre-register for an appointment, visit: HERE

Walk-ins are welcome. For help making an appointment, call: 845-238-1956.

These clinics are for anyone who is unvaccinated, has not completed the polio vaccination series, or is at high risk for contracting polio even if they have completed the primary series. Vaccinations are also available through local health care providers including Federally Qualified Health Centers.

"The Rockland County Department of Health is working with our local health care system and community leaders to notify the public and make polio vaccination available. We are monitoring the situation closely and working with the New York State Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to respond to this emergent public health issue to protect the health and wellbeing of county residents," said Dr. Ruppert.

"Many of you may be too young to remember polio, but when I was growing, up this disease struck fear in families, including my own. The fact that it is still around decades after the vaccine was created shows you just how relentless it is. Do the right thing for your child and the greater good of your community and have your child vaccinated now," County Executive Ed Day said.

For more information on Polio, its symptoms, and how it spreads, visit NYSDOH's page here.

New Yorkers can learn more about the Polio vaccine available in the U.S. at CDC's page here.