April 12, 1955

Fifty-six years ago on April 12, 1955, the Polio Vaccine was declared to be safe and effective. The Polio Vaccine, also called the Salk vaccine, was developed by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1952. Clinical trials proved to be successful and by 1955 the vaccine was given approval by the United States government.

Demonstration of an iron lung. The An iron lung enabled a person to breathe when normal muscle control has been lost or the work of breathing exceeds the person's ability which was often a result of polio.

The approval of the vaccine was a huge step in the fight against polio. Polio, a real threat to children, caused paralysis and often death. By 1957, the incidence of Polio decreased by 90%.

This image, taken for the March of Dimes, shows a boy getting a shot containing the polio vaccine, 1956.

The March of Dimes, established by Franklin D. Roosevelt, originally focused on fighting polio. The organization aided patients stricken with polio and funded research on vaccinations.


The "Pay Toll for Polio" was a fundraising event for the March of Dimes, 1957.

The success of the polio vaccine eventually led the March of Dimes to shift its mission to healthy pregnancies and preventing birth defects. You can learn more about the March of Dimes, its history and mission at http://www.marchofdimes.com

Nicky Kilgore, age 5, helps postman Kyle Moody sort March of Dimes mailers sent in to help finance the 1958 anti-polio fundraising campaign. Nicky, the son of Mrs. and Mrs. Robert Kilgore, was stricken with polio at 10 months old and was greatly helped by the March of Dimes, 1958.

One thought on “April 12, 1955

  1. I remember, as a child, not being allowed to go swimming (in fact the pools were closed) during an outbreak of polio. I lived in Arizona at the time.

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