On April 26 in 1954, the Salk polio vaccine field trials, involving 1.8 million children, begin at the Franklin Sherman Elementary School in McLean, Virginia. Children in the United States, Canada and Finland participated in the trials, which used for the first time the now-standard double-blind method, whereby neither the patient nor attending doctor knew if the inoculation was the vaccine or a placebo. On April 12, 1955, researchers announced the vaccine was safe and effective and it quickly became a standard part of childhood immunizations in America. In the ensuing decades, polio vaccines would all but wipe out the highly contagious disease in the Western Hemisphere.
From the “This Day in History” section on www.history.com
To bring the story closer to home, note that John White was one of those 1.8 million children and the announcement in 1955 was made in Ann Arbor. For more information, click here to read the entire article and go to www.endpolionow.org for an update on success in polio eradication.