For Ernestine Jackson, 80, getting the polio vaccine along with her two young sons and husband was a no-brainer.
“I had no apprehension of [us or] our children getting it,” she said. This was for a personal reason: her father had struggled with the disease, which had given him a short leg and made it difficult for him to find work. “It was hard, especially if [polio’s effect] was really visible,” said Mrs. Jackson. “I was just happy about the fact that my children wouldn’t have to go through what my father … went through.”
Her family took the vaccine in the 1960s, after a church service in Peoria, IL; the vaccine they took was in its sugar cube form, which was the second type of polio vaccine created in 1961 by scientist Albert Sabin. Violet Petty, 79, remembers being similarly unconcerned about taking the polio vaccine. She was vaccinated at her school in Mississippi in the 1950s; in the early ’50s, America had seen a second large-scale polio outbreak and in 1955, the year that the polio vaccine was invented by scientist Jonas Salk, recorded over 28,000 cases of polio and 1,043 deaths.