Three of us in a family of five contracted polio in 1953, two years before the Salk vaccine, and before the major vaccines for “childhood diseases” came out — measles 1963, mumps in 1967 and rubella in 1969.
Having polio was not uncommon in my generation. In addition to the kids wearing braces and on crutches, there were scores of us who had not suffered paralytic effects but who had missed school and did massive amounts of physical therapy. People younger than me are often shocked when I say I had polio, because they imagine that every polio survivor should be in an iron lung. Less than 1% of patients experienced permanent paralysis, and virtually everyone was exposed, but it was not benign.
Viruses cannot survive without a host, if we really do create herd immunity; polio will disappear off the planet — it still exists in some pockets in Africa. The same is true of the coronavirus.
Perhaps to convince the anti-vaxxers that the world is not flat they should speak to a polio survivor.
Ellen Taft, Seattle
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