Photo Credit: Stuart Ramson

Photo Credit: Stuart Ramson

NBC’s futuristic drama Revolution is set more than 15 years into a worldwide blackout that has plunged the US into warring factions and a primitive existence. When disaster strikes like this, vaccinations can’t be produced or stored, and killer diseases return.

This guest post written by Devi Ramachandran Thomas, Director of the UN Foundation Shot@Life Campaign, gets behind the motivation driving one of the characters in episode 7 of season 2, “The Patriot Act.”

In this episode we learn why Dr. Gene Porter compromises his high moral standards in return for life-saving vaccinations held by a shadowy representative of the so-called Government. He betrays the trust of his family and community knowing that without access to healthcare and routine immunization, diseases that were once confined to history will return and destroy everything he loves.

Although this is a fictional story, the importance of vaccinations is rooted in today’s reality. The recent outbreaks of polio in Syria and the Horn of Africa reveal the truth behind the Revolution plot line. When a sufficient number of children are not fully immunized, the virus finds its way to the most vulnerable and takes hold.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, a partnership made up of the UN, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and Rotary International works with national health authorities to end the disease worldwide.  According to medical experts, polio is spread through person-to-person contact. The wild poliovirus enters a child’s body through the mouth and multiplies in the intestine. It is then shed into the environment where it can spread rapidly through a community, especially in situations of poor hygiene and sanitation.

Despite the setbacks in Syria and the Horn of Africa, polio is only endemic in three countries in the world: Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and we may very well be able to see this disease completely eradicated in our lifetime. India has been declared by the World Health Organization as being polio free for two years in a row. By lobbying the US Government and raising funds for the amazing efforts of the UN, the Shot@Life campaign is committed to being part of the fight to rid polio from the face of the earth.

The villagers in Revolution’s hamlet of Willoughby have tragically learned that we are only as safe from disease as the least protected amongst us. Visit www.shotatlife.org and www.polioeradication.org to find out what you can do to help eradicate polio once and for all.

For more updates, follow @devithomas and @shotatlife on Twitter.