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June 5, 1996

Polio Eradication—How Near?

Author Affiliations

From the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, Atlanta, Ga.

JAMA. 1996;275(21):1682-1683. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03530450072037

There are rare occasions when a concerted effort may change history in a positive way forever. Eradicating poliomyelitis provides such an opportunity, and every person who has helped in getting a child immunized has participated. How is the world doing in the goal to achieve eradication? Do suggested changes in the US vaccination policy impede that objective? Are we providing sufficient protection to children in this country prior to global eradication?

See also p 1639.

The article by Chen et al1 in this issue of The Journal provides reassuring information on the protection of children in the United States. Levels of immunity in inner-city preschoolers were found to be high, consistent with national surveys that show immunization coverage to be the highest this country has ever achieved.2 While the United States has often been criticized for lagging in immunization coverage of 2-year-old children, the real test of immunization