In 1933, my 16-year-old brother died of polio. Like Covid-19, the polio virus affected his lungs. The closest iron lung that may have saved him was in Portland, Ore. When the polio epidemic raged, it was like a curse hanging over our heads. Without a vaccine, for years many spent the rest of their lives in a wheelchair or in an iron lung to breathe for them.

When I was raising my six children, polio was always on my mind. Then in April 1955 an American doctor named Jonas Salk developed a serum that killed the virus and it was given to children by injection. In 1961 (approx.) a medical researcher, Albert Sabin developed a second (oral) vaccine for the general public.

In those days there were no foolish people protesting the vaccine. Everyone could get the polio vaccine in the form of a sugar cube. From then on polio cases were rare and it is now a regular “baby shot.” Today we are so fortunate to have a reliable vaccine for Covid.

I hope this letter will inspire people to get that vaccine, and wear a mask.

Eleanor “Poofy” Wagner


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