Vaccines

Back in the 1940s there was an epidemic of polio.
My father caught it and was sent to the Shriners Hospital for Women and Children in San Francisco. That was the only place the disease was treated because polio was called Infantile Paralysis.
I was mildly sick for a day or two while he was in the hospital, but it was nothing to worry about.
My father died from the polio and our family was quarantined for the next two weeks.
I remember seeing the women from our church climbing the steep path to our house bringing food and leaving it inside the basement door since they couldn’t come near us.
A few years later the Cutter Laboratory developed a vaccine for polio and our family doctor told us my brother and I could be the first ones in the county to get it. That Saturday morning in his office my brother and I simultaneously swallowed sugar cubes. Each cube had with an orange spot of vaccine on it.
But there had been a terrible mistake at the lab and the vaccine contained the live virus!
My brother got sick, but I didn’t. Apparently I’d had a mild case of polio while my father was in the hospital. Fortunately, his case wasn’t very bad and he had no lasting effects.
I’m glad scientific procedures have improved a lot since the 1940s and plan to get the Covid vaccination when it becomes available. I’m sure it will be safe.

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Janet Ann Collins

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