A Thousand Words on Vaccines


Over the weekend my wife and I visited FDR’s “Little White House” in Georgia. Not surprisingly, one of the topics was polio, as the main reason Roosevelt purchased the cabin in the first place was to utilize the nearby warm springs as a therapeutic for his condition.

I snapped the following for your consideration:

Another display, that I failed to photograph, would have been another 1,000 words on how global vaccination has eliminated polio. Imagine that.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And yet to hear some people tell it, vaccine mandates are the height of tyranny.

  2. Scott says:

    I remember going up to the Junior High gym to get my Sabin oral sugar cube (1961?)

  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    COVID-19…so much winning.

  4. flat earth luddite says:

    My grandmother contracted polio when she was 17 and pregnant with her first child. She used crutches most of her adult life, until she graduated to a walker in her mid 70’s, IIRC. When the Salk and Sabin vaccines rolled into Seattle, she made sure that I was in line. One vaccine is good? There’s two available? Get back in line, ingrate, you’re getting both!

    I don’t understand the refusal to accept lifesaving treatment that is free and by our current knowledge safe, safe, safe. But yet I keep seeing people every day who glare at us on the other side of the cash register who have to mask up. Side bar to my customer from last night – no, the mask is NOT tyranny. Not even close.

  5. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Alas, polio was different. Additionally, the people who are refusing to be vaxxed are convinced that nothing bad will happen to them. The theme continues to be that people who get bad-level sick do death bed repenting and people who don’t (or are able to be admitted to Walter Reed for state of the art steroid treatment) keep saying it’s no big deal. And don’t forget JKB’s reminder that in another year or so we’ll have natural immunity to this one like we do to the several corona viruses associated with the common cold. (WTF???????)

    But keep up the fight Dr. T. I’m all out of FTG, but somebody should keep trying.

  6. JohnMcC says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Just to remark on the regionalism that vaccine resistance has assumed, I also recall lining up for the pink drop on the sugar cube. It was in the auditorium of Goode St Elementary School in Montgomery, AL.

  7. Michael Cain says:

    @JohnMcC: North Grade School, Storm Lake, IA. I got to take the water in the little white paper cup dose because sugar cubes always made me gag.

  8. Kathy says:


    I didn’t get a sugar cube, just drops placed on my tongue.

    I recall that one specifically, because back then I didn’t like shots and this one didn’t involve needles.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I have no recollection of any of my vaccinations. That’s how momentous those occasions were.

  10. Kathy says:


    I’ve vague memories of going to the pediatrician just for vaccines. I don’t recall what they were for. I can identify the polio vaccine because it was the only oral one I got.

    I also vaguely recall a small fridge where some vaccines were kept. The odd thing is I sometimes recall it being white and other times brown.

  11. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The only ones I remember are my kindergarten ones, because my best friend and I compared our swollen legs the next day. He won, but I think it was cuz he had such skinny, knobby legs, it just LOOKED worse.

    I do, however, remember all 4 tetanus shots I’ve had to get every time I got cut or impaled by rusty nails. 😛

  12. Mister Bluster says:

    If the Polio Vaccine WikiP page is correct mass polio vaccination with the Salk injection began in 1955. I was 7 years old. I’m pretty sure school was out for summer. My mom sent me walking to the Iroquois School where I had just finished 2nd grade. It was not a Middle School at the time and looks to have been remodeled by the pics I see. I had walked the 0.7 mi to school and back every day starting with Kindergarten so that was no big deal. Don’t remember the shot itself. For whatever reason needles have never bothered me. What I do remember is that there were large towels on the floor of the hallway where I sat with my back against the wall along with others who had just been vaccinated. The lights were off I guess so we would be more relaxed. Fifteen minutes? Could have been. Walked home. Don’t remember if there were any booster shots.
    I was in Jr. High School in ’61 when the Sabin vaccine came out and got that dose too.
    Never really thought much about it even when I was 12 and learned that the guy in our church choir who used crutches to walk up and down the aisle with the rest of the songbirds was a polio victim.
    I met my friend Joe in 1973 when I was 25 and he was just a few years younger. He was stricken with the polio virus as an infant. By the time the vaccine came out it was too late for him. He never took one walking step in his entire life. He lived in a wheelchair. He told me that he remembered the painful scalding hot water baths his mother would give him when he was very young as it was thought to be some sort of therapy for his malady. There was no in home health care in the ’50s in the small central Illinois town where he lived so his parents sent him to live in a State Institutional School in Chicago where he was afforded the care he required. He was finally able to return home for his Jr. year in High School when he got his first motorized wheelchair.
    When I met him he had just graduated from college. He had a full time live in attendant. The rooming house that I had just moved into where he lived was a lot like a hippie commune so he had lots of assistance when he needed it. I was his full time attendant on the road when I drove the two of us on a month long trip to the west coast and back. I was also his live in attendant for a year when we lived in San Francisco. That was over 40 years ago.
    Lately I have developed joint pain in my knees that comes and goes. Sometimes it is painful to get up out of a seat and walk to the kitchen. So far it is intermittent enough to be managed by occasional doses of ibuprofen. Most days it’s hardly noticeable.
    Whenever I think it hurts much and I think I might not be able to walk I think of my life long friend Joe who years ago I would sit up in his bed every morning because through no fault of his own he could not do that for himself and lift him into his wheelchair to get his day going. My memory of him tempers the pain. He died of lung cancer in 2008.
    When ever I see these goons who oppose the Covid vaccine it’s all I can do to keep from vaccinating them in the head with a baseball bat.

  13. JohnSF says:

    I recall the sugar cube!
    Must have been mid-60’s.
    I was super-pleased because the previous vaccine (smallpox I think), had really damn hurt.
    When I got the second jab this time round, I mentioned it to the medic.
    First she’d heard of it: she was too young to remember. 🙁

  14. EddieInCA says:

    I remember my sugar cube for polio.
    I remember my measles booster when I was about six. I still have the little mark on my upper arm.

    We had a kid in elementary school, Charles, who was in leg braces. His parents were anti-vax. Seventh Day Adventists I think. Charles was a cool kid, but alot of kids made fun of him due to the crutches. I went to elementary, jr. high, and high school with him. I ran into him in my late 20’s after visiting my mom in the old neighborhood. He still had his crutches, but he could walk pretty well. That time I talked to him, he hadn’t talked to his parents in like 5 years. He finally realized that his lifelong affliction could have been avoided with a simple vaccine.

    I wonder if he ever reconciled with his folks.

  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Me too. I remember TB patch and scratch tests more than I do the polio jab. Probably because I had so many of them. (The public health department–remember when we had one of those?–sponsored tests in the schools 2 or 3 times a year up to about 3rd grade IIRC.)

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: Do you consider that a vaccination because your baseball bat has a spike pounded through it? (Asking for a friend.)

  17. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: You were about a mile north of me, and two decades before me. Weird.

  18. Hal_10000 says:

    Eisenhower had to deal with vaccine skepticism too. Especially when a batch included the live virus and was injected into 100,000 kids.

  19. Mark says:

    I don’t need a vaccine. I had COVID. Now I have natural immunity. I will never get another vaccine. If you get it and want to wear a mask…fine. If I don’t…it has zero impact on any of you so stay in your lane. Everyone wants to be a victim. That is for the weak of heart. The rest of us will be just fine.