Progress Against Polio

March 14, 1956

Report Outline
Efficacy and Safety of Salk Vaccine
Supply and Distribution of Polio Vaccine
Outlook for Control of Poliomyelitis

Efficacy and Safety of Salk Vaccine

Recent action by Congress to extend the program under which the federal government has been helping the states to finance mass inoculation against poliomyelitis confirmed public acceptance of the once controversial Salk vaccine. Last year's apprehensions about safety of the vaccine have been largely allayed. Health officers now urge that vaccination plans be carried forward as swiftly as possible. Dr. Hart Van Riper, medical director of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, told doctors early this year:

In the light of current evidence concerning the safety and effectiveness of the Salk vaccine, produced according to present minimum requirements for manufacturing and testing, it certainly seems over-cautious and ultra-conservative…for a physician to withhold or postpone immediate vaccination against paralytic poliomyelitis.

With another polio season approaching and millions of individuals of susceptible ages still not immunized against the disease, Dr. Van Riper said: “It is perhaps justifiable to regard the 1956 polio vaccination outlook as akin to medical emergency and deal with it as such.”

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