Apr 22, 2024 - News

Local voices for immunization

Illustration of a human silhouette next to a vaccine syringe silhouette

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

On World Immunization Week, local voices like restaurateur and author Ina Pinkney are reminding folks about the importance of vaccines.

Why it matters: Low vaccination rates have driven more measles cases in Illinois in 2024 than in the last decade combined, while tuberculosis is hitting local migrant shelters and polio has returned to some areas.

Zoom in: Pinkney is a global advocate for people with post-polio syndrome, which can strike decades after contracting the disease.

  • "I had polio 11 years before there was a vaccine ... I'm very concerned that vaccination rates dropped precipitously during the pandemic and many children are now way behind their shots," Pinkney, 81, tells Axios.
  • Noting that an unvaccinated New York man was paralyzed in 2022 by a polio strain that may have come from Israel or the U.K., she says, "polio and other diseases can be just a plane ride away."
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