Finishing my father’s work
Oral polio vaccine creator’s daughter, Debbe Sabin, shares her experiences of the polio eradication journey
In mid-20th century America, summer was known as “polio season”.
Polio was at epidemic proportions, spreading quickly and causing mass public fear. Local authorities closed the schools and public pools, and my friends would often be kept home because their parents wanted to protect against this highly infectious disease known to paralyse and, in some cases, kill otherwise healthy individuals.
In 1952, when I was just two, a record 58,000 cases were reported; over one third were paralytic. Local hospital wards began to fill with iron lungs and crutches, to support children affected by the disease…