Contact: Chris Spear
Nashoba Valley
United States of America

What is Purple Pinky Day?

Purple Pinky Day (PPD) is a Rotary polio eradication fund and awareness raising day held on World Polio Day, October 24th, each year.

Why 'Purple Pinky'?

In countries where the threat of polio remains, children still receive their polio vaccine by mouth, unlike other countries where the vaccine is injected. When vaccinating children, every child will have the little finger (pinky) nail of their left hand painted with an indelible purple marker. This is important because the vaccine should not be re-administered within one month.The purple marker eventually turns brown and lasts for about one month. Vaccinators will check a child's left hand pinky before vaccinating to see if the child has previously received the vaccine. Hence, Purple Pinky.

How does Purple Pinky Day work?

A fun event held in elementary and middle schools in Stow, Bolton and Lancaster. A week or two before PPD, Rotarians give a talk to students about polio, a disease they usually know nothing about as they have grown up protected by the vaccines they received as babies, and explain how Rotary has driven the polio eradication program. Parents are also informed and students are asked to bring $1 to school during the week of PPD, which is donated to Rotary's polio eradication fund raising campaign.

When will polio be eradicated from the world?

Many people comment they thought it was! Polio eradication will be only the second human disease next to smallpox, to be eradicated from the planet. In 1988, when Rotary started, there were 350,000 children paralysed every year, across ALL countries, by polio. In 2017, there were 22 and they were in just two countries. Polio is much harder than smallpox was to eradicate. For example, the virus can survive outside the body in water and only a tiny number of infected people show any symptoms. Polio eradication is 'This Close', indeed we are on a Countdown to History, but the final stage is the most expensive, and expected to cost about $7 billion

How can I help?

  • Contact the Rotary Club of Nashoba Valley and support our polio eradication efforts
  • Donate here. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will add $2 for every $1 you donate
  • Learn about polio
  • Talk about it, and share the polio eradication program through social media