Polio (you remember that time you got polio?)

You might already be aware that Jonas Salk is a personal hero of mine. He’s the guy who invented the inactivated polio vaccine. This is an important one to talk about because the history of polio immunization teaches us a lot about vaccines in general. You are probably already aware that polio can be a devastating disease. It is a virus that can lead to paralysis, respiratory failure, and death. One of the arguments you may hear from those who choose not to vaccinate their children is that vaccine preventable illnesses were eradicated not by vaccines but by better hygiene. The polio vaccine is a great example of how a vaccine can eliminate a particular disease in spite of a lack of other public health interventions. The history of the polio vaccine also shows us that safety watch groups (like the CDC, the FDA, the WHO, etc.) really are watching. Here in the US, we didn’t always use Salk’s vaccine. We used to give the live Sabin vaccine. However, when it was discovered that the live vaccine was inadequately weakened and more children than expected were catching polio from the vaccine itself, action was taken. The vaccine was removed from the US market and replaced with the safer, inactivated vaccine. There was no cover-up, although Big Pharma tried. You know who stood up and fought against them? Doctors. Yup. The FDA and CDC didn’t hide the truth or try to silence the whistle-blowers. When a grass-roots effort by parents of children who really were injured by the vaccine took their concerns to the medical community, they were taken seriously. Appropriate steps were taken to keep children safe. The story of the polio vaccine is a success story, both in terms of wiping out deadly disease and of vaccine safety.  For more details, see my post on vaccine injuries.
– http://amhistory.si.edu/polio/virusvaccine/vacraces.htm
– http://www.nytimes.com/…/us-panel-proposes-a-change-in-admi…
– http://www.polioeradication.org/tabid/…/iid/347/Default.aspx
– http://www.mayoclinic.org/…/polio/…/definition/con-20030957-http://www.salk.edu/about/jonas_salk.html

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