The first effective polio vaccine was developed in 1952 by Jonas Salk and his team at the University of Pittsburgh. Shortly thereafter, a key laboratory technique that enabled mass production of the vaccine was invented by Leone N. Farrell and her team in Toronto.
In February 1953 Pittsburg, Pennsylvania launched the first mass childhood Salk Vaccine inoculation program against polio.
In February 1954, the vaccine was tested at Arsenal Elementary School and the Watson Home for Children in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In 1955 the Salk vaccine was found to be 60–70% effective against PV1 (poliovirus type 1), >90% effective against PV2 and PV3 and 94% effective against the development of bulbar polio.
Soon many children’s vaccination campaigns were launched and promoted by the March of Dimes,
The annual number of polio cases fell from 35,000 in 1953 to 5,600 by 1957.
By 1961 only 161 cases were recorded in the US.
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I remember as a young kid placing those dimes I “earned” into the slotted March of Dimes cards. It took several weeks to fill up all the slots, but I got a lot of satisfaction in doing my part. The pictures of kids in iron lungs terrified me – more than the Ruskees with their bombs.