Monday, April 13, 2015

The Polio Vaccine

I have written in the past how much I support parents following the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and having their children vaccinated.

Dr. Howard Sanden, my father
One of the reason I fight so firmly on this issue is because, as a pediatrician since the late 1950's my dad already fought the good fight regarding vaccinations.

A friend of mine posted on facebook yesterday the following post (with certain language edited):
Sixty years ago today, Jonas Salk announced the polio vaccine, which saved a bagillion lives. He also refused to seek a patent so that everyone could have cheap access to treatment. Edward R Murrow once asked Salk who held a patent for the vaccine. Solidifying his place in the history of humanitarian awesomeness, Salk replied: "No one. Could you patent the sun?"

The truth is, my father treated children with polio in medical school and watched helplessly as many died from this horrible disease.  When the polio vaccine was discovered and finally made available, he was a young pediatrician new to his community, but he had seen the dangerous and loss of life due to this illness firsthand.  He knew the importance of this vaccination -- not only for those at-risk to be vaccinated, but EVERYONE to be vaccinated in the hopes that polio would become eradicated.  He single-handedly organized the polio drive to get all of Muskegon County (every single person) vaccinated.

When I speak passionately about the importance of childhood vaccinations it is not a fun cause to jump aboard -- it comes from a place of deep-rooted respect.  It comes from a place of learning from our past, and honoring our history while cherishing the medical advancements and protection we have available now.

Trust be told, it blows my mind that I am fighting the same battle about the importance of vaccinations that my father won over fifty years ago.

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