Governor Hochul Declares State Disaster Emergency for Polio

September 9, 2022

New York Governor Kathy Hochul today issued an Executive Order (EO) declaring a State disaster emergency in response to polio. This is based on an unvaccinated individual testing positive for the virus and the virus being found in the wastewater of Orange, Rockland, and Sullivan Counties from April through August 2022. All samples reported are types of poliovirus that can cause paralysis in humans.

New York State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Mary Bassett, MD, is urging individuals who are unvaccinated or who have unvaccinated children to get immunized against polio immediately, particularly those residing or working in Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, or Nassau Counties or in New York City.

The EO expands the number of individuals who are authorized to administer vaccines against polio to include midwives, pharmacists, and emergency medical technicians. It also permits physicians and certified nurse practitioners to issue a non-patient specific standing order for vaccines against poliovirus.

While health care workers must obtain consent to administer the poliovirus vaccine, the EO suspends the requirement to obtain consent from individuals over age 19 to input information on such vaccines into the New York State Immunization Information System (NYSIIS) or the Citywide Immunization Registry (CIR). The EO further directs all reports to NYSIIS and CIR for all adults and minors receiving the vaccine to be completed within 72 hours of administration.

GNYHA encourages members to review the EO and DOH‘s statement. We also recommend that they prepare for the increased demand for polio vaccines and be aware of the signs and symptoms of poliovirus infection.