The initial polio vaccine rollout did not occur easily. Within a month, six cases of polio were linked to a vaccine manufactured by Cutter Laboratories in Berkeley, California. It was soon discovered that Cutter had failed to completely kill the virus in some vaccine batches, a mistake that led to more than 200 polio cases. And 11 deaths. The Surgeon General asked the cutter to issue a remembrance, and halted the distribution.
Months later, in the summer and fall of 1955, Boston was struck by a polio outbreak and Ellen Goodman, who was then 6 years old, became ill. “I remember I was in bed, and I felt this electric current going up my arms and legs,” she said. “Then I went to go ahead and my left leg was numb.”
Decades later, Ms. Goodman, 71, suffers from post-polio syndrome, including chronic fatigue and difficulty walking. “My life is defined by this disease,” she said. “It could have been avoided to think.”
The vaccine program resumed months later, and cases of polio declined rapidly. Elvis Presley agreed to the vaccination on national television to build public confidence in the shot. But the disease did not disappear. Counting of American cases resumed in 1958, especially in urban areas. Community Dissemination was the Country’s Last Case Recorded in 1979. Although two strains Polio has been eradicated, A third relic and still roams in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
For those injured by memories of the polio epidemic, a vaccine against Kovid may not arrive soon enough. Many older Americans, especially those vulnerable to the disease, have separated from their children and grandchildren for this year.
Ms. Norville has not left her home since February and is eagerly awaiting a shot. “My son said, ‘If I could, I would bring you the vaccine today.”
For the Salk family, relief is with a sense of pride, given their father’s role in advancing the scientific understanding of vaccination. But the sons are also worried about the protest against some disease.