Monday, April 26, 2010

Polio vaccine trials begin — This Day in History — 4/26/1954

Polio vaccine trials begin — This Day in History — 4/26/1954

With today's concerns about the detrimental effects of vaccines, it is almost impossible to imagine that 56 years ago today parents were lining their children up to be part of a huge field trial of a vaccine for polio.

But they were desperate.  The risk of their child getting polio without the vaccine seemed greater than the dangers of participating in a trial vaccination.

Recently I met with a Post Polio Support group and was startled to learn that 2 of the women in the group got polio in 1955, the year that Jonas Salk's vaccine was declared a success! One woman was diagnosed with polio the day before her scheduled vaccine.  Imagine the difference that 24 hour period made on her entire life!

A friend emailed me a link with this Wall Street Journal article about Bill Gates who along with Rotary International, World Health Organization and other partners has been funding worldwide efforts to eradicate polio. 

The heartbreaking truth is that polio, which had once been contained to only 4 remaining countries is now spreading again!

But I love this video for the hope it expresses! A big thanks to Rotary and all who have joined in their efforts to take polio vaccine to the corners of this great big round world.


  1. My dad told me that when he was little, his mom and dad would sit he and his little brother together at the movie theater, then sit on either end, boxing them in--because of the polio scare. Knowing my grandmother later, I'm guessing it was a huge deal for her to even TAKE the kids to the theater with that worry. It's horrible that it's coming back. Thanks for the post, Joyce.

  2. Oh, fascinating! I hear so many memories like this. But I haven't heard this particular one.

    It must have been hard to know how to live life as normally as possible and still protect the children. Your grandmother did well!