Thank you for posting this. I'm old enough to remember the terror that came every summer. The weather would get really hot - no one had air conditioning - and our parents wouldn't let us go out to play because of the fear of polio. There were children in my classes at school that wore leg braces and walked with crutches because of polio. I remember 1 or 2 students who disappeared and it was because they had contracted polio and were not able to attend school any longer.
The entire subject of vaccinations is so volatile now....are they bad...do they cause all types of other issues? But, when I think about polio and the devastation it can and has caused I thank God for Jonas Salk and Dr. Sabin.
Thank goodness for vaccines! The anti-vaccine nazis aren't from generations that saw pain and suffering from these diseases.
I also was deeply disturbed by this article. I am just old enough to remember the tail end of polio, after the vaccine had arrived but while many kids still dealt with the effects of the disease. The thought that Syria, which had NO cases up until just a few years ago, now has an epidemic is disgusting and frightening.
Some years ago I had a discussion with a co-worker, a perfectly nice woman, about the distrust of vaccines. She said airily that she didn't think doctors had all the answers, and they had vested interests in promoting vaccines anyway. So if she ever had children, she wouldn't get them immunized. Fortunately this woman is childless and at her age will remain so. I said, what about polio? She literally didn't see the difference between polio and any of the other illnesses. She made some other lighthearted remark about taking what doctors said with a grain of salt. I'm telling you, I came as close as I ever do to climbing down someone's throat. I had to walk away before I said something that would drive a hatchet through our friendship. The idea that an educated woman in the twenty-first century would even entertain such a viewpoint made me wonder how many others like her are out there, comfortable in their deluded perception that there is some herd immunity protecting their kids from diseases many oceans away. There are no oceans anymore. Everything is only a plane ride away, as war erodes the safety net of a country's once-effective public health system and refugees (and business travelers) cross boundaries.
Jonas Salk, not to mention Franklin Roosevelt, must be turning over in the grave.
I would agree that doctors don't have all the answers and can sometimes cause more harm than good. I also think we over immunize.
Some vaccines I understand (polio being one of them) but even if everyone immunized it would not get rid of it, it would just come back with a mutation that we wouldn't be ready for.
I'm not going to get into the argument over vaccines. But the idea that somehow science is a democracy and that "the common man" has a better chance of understanding the truth than those aristocratic doctors do is an unsuitable framework at best. Apricot pits do not cure cancer. Chemo doesn't cure all cancers perfectly either at this date, but it saves (I hope to God) a lot of lives. One day there will be something better that is easier on the system.
I bet if you ask a lot of people, they think that Salk (if they know his name) found "the cure" for polio. No, there is no cure for polio. There is only immunization against it. Once a child gets polio, there isn't a do-over. Failing to see that children are immunized is a sin that the parents (or local authorities) commit and the children pay for.
Whooping Cough has made a comeback in the USA because people aren't getting their babes immunized. It's a horrible way to die.
My mom's eldest sister, my late Aunt Lucy had polio as a child when she was 7 years old. She walked with a limp and one of my first memories of her was her deformed right hand and left foot - both were tiny and withered, too tiny for an adult woman who stood 5'3. The muscles had atrophied due to the polio. Her right hand and left foot had literally stopped growing when she was 7 years old. Fortunately the rest of her was okay but I was so grateful I was from the generation that followed, polio vaccines were the norm by then. I believe mine was given to me in sugar cube. I remember all the kids in my grade school class lined up and the attending doctor or nurse placing this sugar cube on our tongues. I remember they pricked our skin too - I think that was to check for tuberculosis. Dr. Sabin and Dr. Salk are heroes to me as are all medical researchers who try to find a cure for humanities most devastating diseases.
Unfortunately my cousin Annie - my Aunt Lucy's only child - is one of those people who don't believe in vaccines. She thinks her daughter will be fine without them. I pray that she is. I actually hope that if she sends her to school she will be compelled to vaccinate her baby girl.
That is truly appalling. Do these people realize that they are leaving their children's fate and sometimes their lifelong health to sheer dumb luck? And here's something your cousin might not have considered: a case of rubella might not harm her daughter very much, but it might do something devastating to the next child, if your cousin is so unfortunate as to be pregnant when the little one gets sick.
If memory serves me, the vaccination debate started because of Jenny McCarthy claiming vaccines cause autism. I recently saw an article saying the study that claimed that had falsified their data so it wasn't even accurate. I wish I remembered the link.
Not that it matters, but the debate was in full swing long before McCarthy got involved. I guess it is fair to say that her notoriety gave some additional visibility to the debate, but she is hardly responsible for starting the debate.