.Letter: ‘Has anybody noticed that polio has all but disappeared from the U.S?’

The needle and the damage not done …

Regarding the letters about vaccinations— has anybody noticed that polio has all but disappeared from the U.S.? As a 5-year-old living in San Francisco in 1953, I had what everyone hoped was a bad cold. I remember in late July, Dr. O’Gara (doctors made house calls then) shook his head and packed his little bag and left. Later, I stepped out of bed and fell, my spine stiff as a board, crippled with polio. That evening, quarantined away from my mother and father, I experienced one of the most horrifying nights of my life at Children’s Hospital; I was in a room full of other screaming, terrified, crippled children. The Salk vaccine had not come to the public quite yet and many people, including Canadian musicians Joni Mitchell and Neil Young, were afflicted with polio before the Salk and Sabin vaccines; Salk was an injection and Sabin came on a sugar cube. Jonas Salk, in one of the most impressive generosities I’ve yet learned of, refused any financial remuneration for his vaccine.

I really have not heard a convincing argument for refusing to vaccinate a child against measles; in some Arab nations, religious fanatics railed against polio vaccinations, preferring to try for some political/religious bunk by declaring the mass injections to be a Western conspiracy to sterilize Muslims. Since Islam has the most followers in the world, I guess those hysterics were not true.

Charlie Morgan, Marshall

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