World Polio Day was established by Rotary International to commemorate the birth of Jonas Saik, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis. Starting in 1985, Rotary launched a global effort to immunize the world’s children against polio.
Subsequently this initiative was reinforced by the establishment of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
These efforts have been an outstanding success that continues with Rotary Clubs all over the country fund raising to support global immunisation programmes that take place every day of the year.
The impact of this has been to see Polio almost eradicated worldwide and to save many children and people from the ravages of a terrible disease that before widespread immunisation, saw over 1,000 children a day paralysed by Polio.
Today to mark the occasion, raise awareness for this ongoing cause and continue the good work, purple crocus bulbs were planted in Central Park Chelmsford, by the Deputy Mayor, Sue Dobson the local Rotary District Governor, Jed Brooks and several members of the Rivermead Rotary Club with their President Julia Jeapes.
These were sponsored by Rivermead Rotary, who also raised additional funds by a sponsored walk to the venue. Purple is the colour because a newly vaccinated person gets purple ink applied to their little finger, it’s called the Purple Pinky!