World Polio Day: A Shot to Save the World

A Shot to Save the World is premiering on the Smithsonian Channel this evening in honor of World Polio Day. We hope you will join us in watching this compelling documentary about the history of polio eradication in the United States. The show premieres at 8:00 p.m. Watch a preview of the documentary:

Key facts about polio:

  • Since 1988, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been a spearheading partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative along with the World Health Organization, Rotary International and UNICEF with substantial support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Agency for International Development and other partner organizations. 
  • World Polio Day is held each year on October 24th in celebration of the birth of Dr. Jonas Salk, the man who led the first team to develop a vaccine against polio.
  • CDC serves as one of the global reference laboratories and provides genetic sequencing of the poliovirus that can be used to evaluate the quality of surveillance systems.
  • The number of worldwide cases has fallen from an estimated 350,000 in 1988 to 287 in 2013, a decline of more than 99% in reported cases.
  • According to global polio surveillance data from September 24, 2013, polio cases have been reported from the following countries: Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan. 
  • January 13, 2013, marked two years since a child was paralyzed by wild poliovirus in India. The country was once considered the most complex challenge to achieving global polio eradication. 
  • Since 1999, CDC has had a longstanding partnership with WHO to support the Stop Transmission of Polio (STOP) Program, which has trained more than 1,800 volunteers from around the world who have been deployed to 62 countries to strengthen polio vaccination programs.
  • The CDC Foundation manages the Endowment for Global Health Priorities and the Bob Keegan Polio Eradication Heroes Fund. The Polio Eradication Heroes Fund honors health workers and volunteers who have incurred serious injury or lost their lives as a direct consequence of their participation in polio eradication activities. The Endowment for Global Health Priorities provides a source of flexible funding to meet critical or emergency needs in the field that could not easily be met through usual government channels.  Learn more and make a give

All facts are from CDC's website and the fund information is from the CDC Foundation. To learn more about polio and CDC’s work in polio eradication: www.cdc.gov/polio.

If you miss the 8:00 p.m. premiere of A Shot to Save the World, it will play tonight again at 11:00 p.m. and on Saturday, 10/26 at 3:00 p.m.


Aimee Ahmed is the director of stewardship for the CDC Foundation.