• devouring the past

    The Polio Pioneers

    From 1954...

    From the Salk Institute:
    Finally, in 1954, national testing began on one million children, ages six to nine, who became known as the Polio Pioneers: half received the vaccine, and half received a placebo. One-third of the children, who lived in areas where vaccine was not available, were observed to evaluate the background level of polio in this age group. On April 12, 1955, the results were announced: the vaccine was safe and effective. In the two years before vaccine was widely available, the average number of polio cases in the U.S. was more than 45,000. By 1962, that number had dropped to 910. Salk never patented the vaccine, nor did he earn any money from his discovery, preferring to see it distributed as widely as possible.

    Here are some pictures of the brave children known as "polio pioneers":


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