For many, the issue of polio is one that dissipated in early childhood with a shot at the doctor’s. But in some regions, such as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria, the disease still maintains a crippling foothold.
In light of that, bizzers and health activists met at West Hollywood’s Soho House on Thursday to discuss the U.N. Foundation Shot@Life initiative’s aims to eradicate polio once and for all.
“This is a really exciting moment for all of mankind to eliminate what has been a real plague on the world for as long as there’s been records of human beings existing,” said U.N. Foundation prexy and former U.S. Sen. Tim Wirth.
Wirth was joined by fellow former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd and Dennis Ogbe, a U.S. Paralympian from Nigeria and a polio survivor, who called on the crowd to help in any way they can.
“You may never meet the person you’re helping, but your conscience will feel it,” Ogbe said. “And whatever you do, you’ll be a part of history.”
Shot@Life distributes life-saving vaccines around the world and asks for a $20 donation, which is enough for one child’s lifetime of immunization against four major diseases. The issue of vaccinations, however, still suffers from claims that certain vaccines are dangerous and can cause autism — claims that stemmed from a fradulent, but widely disseminated, 1998 article in the medical journal The Lancet.
Thesp and activist Amanda Peet took a moment to speak out against parents who turn down immunization for this reason, noting the danger such inaction poses to others.
“Sickness spreads like wildfire — we just don’t really see that in our little enclave,” she said, pointing out the window at the multi-million-dollar homes below.