New York expires emergency order on polio

New York's executive order on polio is "no longer necessary" as the number of positive wastewater samples has declined, health officials said Dec. 12. Efforts to increase vaccination uptake, however, will continue as coverage rates in affected areas remain too low. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul first declared a state of emergency in September after the virus had been detected in sewage samples from a number of counties, including Rockland County, where an unvaccinated person contracted a case of paralytic polio in July. The emergency order loosened restrictions on who was able to administer polio vaccines. 

Since July, nearly 47,000 polio vaccines have been administered to children in the affected counties. Despite the emergency order's expiration, health officials will continue efforts on the vaccination front as well as early detection efforts, such as wastewater surveillance. 

"Thanks to collaboration with CDC, local health departments, trusted healthcare providers, and community-based organizations, we have made progress — but the work to increase immunization rates and protect children from paralytic disease and other vaccine-preventable illness is ongoing," Mary Bassett, MD, the state health commissioner, said in a news release. 

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