Among the first to get a polio vaccine, Peter Salk says don’t rush COVID-19: NPR

0
7


Dr. Jonas E. Salk, who discovered the polio vaccine, reads with his wife and three boys in their home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, April 11, 1955. Boys were among the first to be vaccinated in tests . The family was photographed the night before the vaccine was announced to be effective. In the photo on the left, Jonathan, 5 years old; Donna Salk; Peter, 11; Salk; and Darrell, 8.

AP

hide legend

toggle legend

AP

Dr. Jonas E. Salk, who discovered the polio vaccine, reads with his wife and three boys in their home in Ann Arbor, Michigan, April 11, 1955. Boys were among the first to be vaccinated in tests . The family was photographed the night before the vaccine was announced to be effective. In the photo on the left, Jonathan, 5 years old; Donna Salk; Peter, 11; Salk; and Darrell, 8.

AP

When Dr. Jonas Salk began testing his potential polio vaccine in 1953, he brought it back from his nearby laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh.

“I just hated injections,” recalls 76-year-old son Peter Salk, and the eldest of three brothers. “So my father came home with the polio vaccine and syringes and needles that he sterilized on the stove, boiling them in water, and lined up the children and then administered the vaccine. “

Peter Salk, then 9, was not old enough to fully understand why he and his brothers were receiving this injection. Yet he remembers this shot like no other.

“Somehow, the needle must have missed a nerve, and I didn’t feel it. And so that fixed that moment in my mind, ”he said.

As the world waits for a vaccine for COVID-19, Salk recalled a time when polio terrorized the country every summer.

Children were the hardest hit. In the worst year, 1952, nearly 60,000 children were infected. Many were paralyzed and more than 3,000 died. Frightened parents kept their children away from swimming pools, cinemas and other public places.

The injection of Salk and his brothers marked the beginning of the end of polio. But it was an extended process. What followed was the largest human trial ever, with nearly 2 million American children receiving the potential vaccine. Finally, on April 12, 1955, almost two years after the Salk boys received their injections, the vaccine was declared “safe, effective and powerful”.

“What happened in the country at that time was remarkable. There was joy, ”said Salk. “There was such a relief that this fear, which had hung over everyone’s head for years and years and years, finally disappeared. “

He was one of the great vaccine successes and Jonas Salk became one of the most famous men in America.

Polio was effectively eliminated in the United States in the early 1960s. Since then, it has been phased out worldwide. Today, only a small number of cases occur each year, mainly in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Bill Gates spoke in 2011 in New York with descendants of key figures in the fight against polio – Peter Salk, on the left, and Cathy Hively, granddaughter of Basil O’Connor, who helped fight the disease during the March of dimes.

Seth Wenig / AP

hide legend

toggle legend

Seth Wenig / AP

Bill Gates spoke in 2011 in New York with descendants of key figures in the fight against polio – Peter Salk, on the left, and Cathy Hively, granddaughter of Basil O’Connor, who helped fight the disease during the March of dimes.

Seth Wenig / AP

A word of warning

Peter Salk, who lives in La Jolla, California, is also a doctor and part-time professor of infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh, and he directs the Jonas Salk Legacy Foundation.



LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here