AP Students Learn about Polio from Rotary, WHO

Andrew Fisher
Staff Writer

Getting vaccines and shots may be scary, but they are critical in helping to eliminate dangerous diseases.

On Nov. 4, students in Northrop’s AP Government class went on a field trip to the Allen County Public Library for a conference. The conference was hosted by the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne. The club has partnered with the World Health Organization to participate in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.

Students were able to meet with head doctors to talk about diseases such as rubella, polio, measles and efforts that are being made to eliminate them.

At the convention, it was mentioned that the efforts to eliminate polio are almost complete. Members of the convention went on to explain that it is difficult to completely eliminate a disease because sometimes people don’t really trust the vaccines and so don’t want the help.

The members then went on to explain that getting vaccines are important to prevent a disease from spreading. Also that not all diseases mutate like the flu.

While there, students were able to find out how quickly an infectious disease can spread if a person didn’t take the vaccination. At the beginning of the convention, four students were standing at the entrance and had to shake five hands each; on their hands was an invisible powder that was transferred with a handshake.

After introductions were made, the students were told to go and shake someone’s hand. This was followed by an announcement that there was an emergency and that they needed to scan everyone’s hands to make sure that everything was alright. When they scanned the hands, it would show the powder that would transfer through the handshakes.

In the end, roughly 100 of the near 120 students had the powder on their hands. This was an experiment to help show that getting immunizations are important.

Senior Dylan Campbell was shocked at how quickly the powder spread.

“It’s kind of scary to think that a disease could spread that fast,” he said. “It also brings to light exactly how dangerous it can be to not get a vaccine.”

After the experiment was finished and explained, students were split up into groups to discuss how they feel about travelling to third world countries knowing that not everyone in that country did not receive a vaccine, and why they think other countries don’t accept help for diseases.

A general consensus was reached between the students that as long as you are prepared and you have taken the proper vaccinations, they would be fine travelling to other countries.

The students believed that mainly only countries that have had troubles with the U.S. in the past, mentioning Afghanistan and Iraq, don’t want to accept the help because they just don’t trust the U.S.

Students all agreed that in order to live in a healthier place, it is important to help to eliminate diseases by giving out vaccinations to those that need it.

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