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Local History

Polio Pioneers

Polio Pioneers
Bias magazine, July 6, 1954

 “ In the hot afternoon of July 1, 1,183 of last year’s second grade pupils from Greene County’s schools, accompanied by mothers and teachers, filed into the dim vastness of the Shrine Mosque for the final act of their great experiment – participation in the program of administering Salk vaccine in an effort to combat polio. While they waited their turns to receive their shots, the children sat in sections reserved for their various schools.

 “On this page is shown a part of one of the more tranquil groups – the Delaware pupils, most of them calmly reading comic books. Nearest the camera (from left) are Stephen Grace, Lane Groblebe and John Albert Hawkins. Just behind them (same order) are Terry Lynn Akridge, Sue Baskette and Steve Cash. At top are Toney Poster, Martha Rogers (her face half-hidden) and Billy Shultz.

 “On the facing page (top), you see groups from two schools in two lines, ready to march into the corridor where the doctors and nurses were administering the vaccine. In the lower picture on the facing page, the children are shown as they emerged from the treatment room, where other nurses and members of Burge auxiliary waited to give them cards showing they had received the series of three shots, lapel buttons proclaiming that they were ‘Polio Pioneers’, free tickets to the Tower theater and free soft drinks and candy.

 “On today’s cover, a part of the Phelps school group, clutching paper cups, lollipops and cards, mugs happily for the photographer. Their experiment is finished, and now they can go back to playing for the rest of their vacation, hopeful that the vaccine will protect them from the dread disease.”

There are many books about the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk and biographies of people who had polio, in a varity of reading formats in our catalog.

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