The general consensus is that trends are cyclical, and judging by the state of the world, that’s not just limited to low-rise pants. So, with polio’s recent resurgence in New York City’s wastewater, we’re harkening back to this very day 62 years ago, when the August 26, 1960 issue of the Greenpoint Weekly Star reported on the extension of the neighborhood’s free polio vaccine bus.
Polio originally shook the nation in the late 1940s, resulting in quarantines and travel restrictions until the creation and widespread dissemination of a vaccine in the mid 1950s to early 1960s, causing cases to plummet. This particular anti-polio bus was situated at Union Ave and Conselyea St (near Union Pool today) following an outbreak of 20 known cases in the Williamsburg and Greenpoint area that summer. Prior to this summer, transmission had been eliminated in the United States since 1979.
Presently, local county health departments, including Rockland County — where the current known New York State case resides — are offering free polio vaccine clinics according to the New York State Department of Health. In Brooklyn, children ages 4 to 18 can get a polio vaccine for little to no cost at the Fort Greene Health Center. According to the NYC Citywide Immunization Registry, Williamsburg and East Williamsburg currently have the lowest vaccination percentages in Kings County, while Greenpoint has one of the highest.