Jonas E. Salk's Polio Vaccine

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There have been many people, events, and fads that have shaped American culture over the decades. These people have changed the way the people of the United States think and act, and some still have influence in the country’s society today. One person who made a very big impact on American society, and many other countries around the world, is Jonas E. Salk, who created the world’s first successful polio vaccine. With polio being such a large problem during Salk’s prime in the 1940’s and 1950’s, the vaccination made him a huge success story. Not only have Salk and his polio vaccine improved the lives of millions of American children and adults by freeing them of paralyzation, many fever-like symptoms, and even death, but they have also had …show more content…
He started by helping develop a vaccination for influenza (Jonas Salk Biography, 1). The multiple vaccines for different strains of the virus, known by “Diseases: Finding the Cure”, “...were used by U.S. soldiers during World War II (Robert, 1).” Salk not only contributed to the vaccine for the flu, which was very useful to those suffering from the illness, but he took his next step by beginning to develop a polio vaccine in the late 1940’s. Salk had a unique way of creating his polio vaccine. Instead of injecting a live virus into the body, which is what most vaccinations had done prior to this point, he would inject a dead virus. This would help prevent the intake of the disease to people who had not yet contracted …show more content…
Salk is credited with the making of the influenza vaccine as well, and these two creations shaped the way Americans use vaccines today (Smith, 2). Most vaccinations are given in the form of injection in the twenty-first century, and it was Salk who helped keep this around. Other vaccines, which used live viruses, were around at the time of Salk’s creation, such as Albert Sabin’s oral vaccine. The live virus vaccine was not around for long, however. Shown by Petersen, “ As Salk predicted, new incidences of polio cases surfaced in the United States as a result of live virus vaccines (Petersen, 2).” Salk’s vaccine reigned supreme, and set forth a new precedent of using injectable, dead virus vaccinations. This helped with preventing Americans from catching diseases like polio, which improved the overall health care of citizens in the United

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