As the Iditarod approaches, health officials are promoting vaccine awareness by shining the light of history on the subject.
“Vaccines and Iditarod go hand in hand,” said Lisa Schobert, vaccine coordinator at the Norton Sound Health Corporation.
It was 1925 when diphtheria broke out in Nome and the life-saving serum was taken by dog sled from Nenana. Now, almost 90 years later, the vaccine will once again travel the Iditarod trail.
Mushers Martin Buser and Aily Zirkle will each carry ten vials of two different kinds of the vaccine. Organizers hope that the return of the vaccine to the race will help promote positive thinking towards vaccination.
“Here in Anchorage, we don't see polio, we don't see diphtheria right now, and that's because we vaccinate children,” Schobert said. “We vaccinate adults against it, however, if you really think about it, in the world polio is only an airplane ride away.”
Officials with the NSHC say a location will be set up in Nome where people can get vaccinations during the week of the Iditarod.