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Half of Illegal Immigrants in NYC Are Not Vaccinated for Polio, Health Commissioner Warns

Townhall Media/Julio Rosas

Half of illegal immigrants pouring into New York City are not vaccinated against poliovirus, the city’s health commissioner, Ashwin Vasan, said.

This month, Vasan sent an eight-page letter to doctors outlining the health risk migrants living in the city pose to residents. In the letter, Vasan pointed out that the migrants come from countries with high rates of infectious tuberculosis, chickenpox and other illnesses (via the New York Post): 


“More than 50,000 people have come to New York City (NYC) in the past year shortly after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. As more people arrive and many make NYC their home, the scale and scope of need continues to grow,” Vasan said in an eight-page letter, dated April 11, sent to physicians and other health care providers. A copy was obtained by The Post.  

“I am writing now to underscore how critical it is that health care providers take a wide range of considerations into account when working with people who are seeking asylum … The scope of this letter represents the scale of the need. It is incumbent upon us as a welcoming city to comprehensively evaluate and meet these needs.”


“Vaccination rates for certain diseases are low in some of the most common countries of origin, with rates hovering around 50% for polio as an example,” the commissioner said.

The polio virus spreads through person-to-person contact, lives in an infected person’s throat and intestines — and can contaminate food and water in unsanitary conditions.

Paralysis is the most severe symptom of poliovirus because it can lead to permanent disability and death.

Between two and 10 out of 100 people who have paralysis from polio die because the virus damages the muscles that help them breathe, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Earlier this year, the Post reported that New York schools were admitting migrant children who lacked required vaccinations. At least one outbreak occurred at a school as a result.

Last fall, when Republican governors began sending migrants on buses to Democrat-led “sanctuary cities,” NYC Mayor Eric Adams declared a state of emergency and estimated that it would cost billions to provide for the migrants. 

“This is a humanitarian crisis that started with violence and instability in South America, and it’s being accelerated by American political dynamics,” Adams claimed, adding that “this crisis is not of our own making,” despite being a sanctuary city.

Since then, NYC has unveiled programs for the illegal immigrants, including free childcare.

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