Tuesday, December 8, 2020

How Elvis Presley Helped To Popularize The Polio Vaccine

As we experience the COVID-19 pandemic, it is helpful to look back at another pandemic in history. 

In the 1950s polio killed and crippled many people, especially children. 

I had polio when I was two years old in 1954. I have no memory of the experience, but I recall that my late mother would cry whenever the subject of polio came up. 

Thankfully, I was not placed in an “Iron Lung” like so many other victims of polio, but I wore heavy leg braces, the kind of awful contraptions Forrest Gump wore in the film (see the below photo of a young girl in the braces). 

Thankfully, once again, the polio vaccine cured me. 

Then, like now, there are doubters about the effectiveness of a vaccine.  

So as we approach the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, one should look back at Dr. Salk’s polio vaccine. 

Claire Barrett at Historynet.com offers a piece on how Elvis Presley helped promote the polio vaccine by taking it on live TV on The Ed Sullivan Show. 

You can read the piece via the below link: 

 How Elvis Presley Helped to Popularize the Polio Vaccine (historynet.com)

You can also read an earlier post on the polio pandemic via the below link: 

Paul Davis On Crime: A Look Back At Polio: The Disease That Paralyzed America And How We Defeated It 

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