World Polio Day 2022

This Year's Theme: Together, Let’s End Polio!

Updated October 20, 2022

World Polio Day (October 24) provides an opportunity to highlight global efforts toward a polio-free world and honor the tireless contributions of those on the frontlines in the fight to eradicate polio from every corner of the globe. Through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), CDC works with partners to eradicate polio and end the suffering from this devastating disease. 

Together, Let’s End Polio!

In 1988 the World Health Assembly worldwide adopted a declaration to eradicate polio. Since then:

  • We’ve achieved a 99.9% reduction in wild poliovirus transmission worldwide
  • Polio cases have fallen from an estimated 350,000 in 1988 to 6 in 2021.
  • Wild poliovirus transmission has been eliminated in 5 of 6 WHO regions

Benefits of reducing polio transmission: people leading healthier lives

  • 20 million people who would have otherwise been paralyzed by polio are walking
  • 5 million people who would otherwise have died are alive
  • Billions of children have been able to live a polio-free life

More Benefits from Fighting Polio: Lower Health Care Costs and Improved Disease Preparedness

Efforts to eradicate polio have reduced health care costs 

Healthier communities mean fewer health care costs for countries—over $27 billion saved worldwide since 1988, with an expected additional $14 billion in savings by 2050.

Fighting polio helps preparedness for other diseases 

An investment in polio is also an investment in pandemic preparedness response. The tools, infrastructure, and knowledge developed to eradicate polio have saved countless lives across the globe and often serve as the default epidemic response program in dozens of countries during health emergencies. Health workers and systems that deliver polio vaccines also help

  • fight other vaccine preventable childhood diseases.
  • tackle Ebola, COVID-19 and other disease outbreaks.
  • deliver malaria prevention tools.
  • improve disease surveillance.

Challenges Remain: a 5-year Strategy to Address Highest-risk Countries

Persistent challenges remain to end all forms of polio.

In June of 2021, the GPEI launched the Polio Eradication Strategy 2022 – 2026 outlining a coordinated approach to:

  • Interrupt wild poliovirus type 1 transmission in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the remaining two endemic countries
  • Stop outbreaks of circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPVs), which can occur in under- or unimmunized communities

The 5-year strategy elevates efforts in the highest-risk countries and promotes health service integration, surveillance improvement, and community engagement to enhance campaign quality.

CDC’s Commitment to Ending Polio

CDC works to eradicate polio globally by:

  • Recruiting, training, and deploying public health professionals
  • Helping countries build stronger immunization systems to increase vaccine coverage and improve outbreak detection and response
  • Supporting vaccine equity
  • Collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data from vaccination activities to better understand the epidemiology and guide program planning and policy development

We believe that as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and with other countries and organizations worldwide, together we can end all forms of polio!

A father holds his daughter as she receives the Oral Polio Vaccine in Malawi.

Godfrey Phiri comforts his daughter, Trisha, as she receives the Oral Polio Vaccine outside their home in Nkaleya village near Zomba, Malawi.

Polio Digital Media

About Polio

Polio, or poliomyelitis, is a crippling and potentially deadly infectious disease caused by the poliovirus that invades the brain and spinal cord, causing paralysis. The virus spreads from person-to-person and only affects humans; children are especially susceptible. Because polio has no cure, vaccination is the only way to protect children and stop the disease from spreading.