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Anyone here remember the mass polio vaccination?

(88 Posts)
Franbern Tue 08-Dec-20 08:38:17

As we can celebrate the first day of what will, eventually, become, the mass rollout of the anti Covid Vaccine, it brings to mind the same happening with polio.
As a child (born 1941), I can remember being terrified any time I got a sore throat in case I had diptheria.
However, definitely the most frightening (healthwise) time was as a yoing teenager with polio. Terrifying pictures in newspapers and on tv of those horrific iron lungs. And this was an illness that had most effect on the young and healthy.

I can well remember one summer school holidays, when virtually everything was closed to us. Parks, Swimming pools, Cinemas, etc. I was staying with a school friend, and she lived in a house, so had a garden ( I lived in a council flat wiht no such luxury), but we were not permitted to leave that house and garden to see any other friends.

It was a couple of years later (in mymemory), that my GP told my Mum to send me along to the local (Hackney) Town Hall for a vaccination against this horrible disease.

I can still remember going down there, and there was a long line of people queuing around the front of building, slowly moving forward. I joined that, and as I got towards the front of the building, my particulars were taken, then inside the building, someone told me to rollup my sleeve. Eventually, I was dabbed and then jabbed, and left through a different door.

Do wonder if, once we have more easier to store, vaccines, if somthing similar to this will be repeated later next year.

Of course, back then, cannot remember any discussions about whether or not to have this vaccine. We trusted out Doctors.

aggie Tue 08-Dec-20 08:44:19

I don’t remember needles being used for the Polio inoculations, we had drops on a sugar lump

aggie Tue 08-Dec-20 08:46:49

Mum was a teacher in a primary school, she told us all her pupils spat it out as soon as they got out of the room , because they were all off sugar for Lent !

BlueSapphire Tue 08-Dec-20 08:49:07

Don't remember the polio vaccination, but remember seeing children in calipers in the 1950s.
I do however remember queuing up at the local surgery for the smallpox jab, as I think there was an outbreak in the 50s.
Can't wait for the call-up for the Covid vaccine!

aggie Tue 08-Dec-20 08:49:20

The Smallpox inoculation was scratched on to your arm , my Mim made the GP do it on out ankle so that we didn’t have the round scar on our arms !

JenniferEccles Tue 08-Dec-20 09:08:18

This is such a timely thread Franbern to remind us all of how vitally important vaccinations are to eradicate nasty illnesses.

I remember, as a child, being absolutely horrified at the pictures of children who had contracted polio, and were then encased in the ghastly iron lungs.

The pictures made such an impact on me that I have had every vaccine offered since.

Septimia Tue 08-Dec-20 09:15:29

aggie I had my small pox vaccination on my ankle too - but it was actually the GP who suggested it.

I'm a bit young to remember the polio outbreak, but I do remember seeing pictures of iron lungs on the news and in magazines, and my friend's neighbour's son had to wear calipers as a result of polio. So it was all fairly fresh.

lemsip Tue 08-Dec-20 09:39:43

Franbern oh yes, I remember that. 1942b I had to go along to the Town Hall on my own as an 8 yr old as my mother had smaller children at home so couldn't take me.....other children from my class at school with their mothers were there, one helped me as I had the jab in my arm with the other children! outbreak 1949-50. London. lots on line.

the sugar lump polio vaccine was many years later!!

Justwidowed Tue 08-Dec-20 09:47:05

Yes I renember the time of the polio vaccine I was born in 1943,TB was also prevalent then. It was 1954 when I was diagnosed as diabetic and I remember thinking that I would rather have that than T B or Polio.An opinion I never changed.

Nanna58 Tue 08-Dec-20 09:48:39

A school friend’s dad died of polio, it was terrible. And I should have had two more uncles but they died at 4and 2 yrs old from Diptheria , This is the main problem with Anti Vaxxers they have lived their lives free from terrible diseases, and then ironically turn against the very thing that has allowed them this luxury. Eejits !!!}

Aepgirl Tue 08-Dec-20 09:50:45

During the polio epidemic in (I think) the 1950s a girl in my class contracted polio.
We were all swiftly vaccinated, but were then not able to have the TB jab as it was not recommended to have 2 so close together - how things have changed with babies and toddlers being given multiple vaccinations in their early years.

missdeke Tue 08-Dec-20 09:52:39

1957 I had the polio jab, unfortunately they were jabs and not sugar lumps at the beginning. I was fine but then fainted in the street on the way home. I've hated needles ever since. There was a smallpox outbreak in 1966 and I had to have the innoculation so I could go on my first holiday abroad with a friend. We were all lined up in the doctor's surgery, a nurse came down the line and swabbed us with the the doc following on with the innoculations. I fainted when he did the first person in line but had come round by the time he reached me hmm. Would still be first in line for the covid jab if given the opportunity though.

absthame Tue 08-Dec-20 09:53:58

So many diseases were virtually eliminated only to be reserected thanks to the stupid antivaxers I even had one know it all state that measles never hurt anyone. The ignorance of these people is causing real hardship, deaths and maiming.

wildswan16 Tue 08-Dec-20 09:55:47

In case we should ever forget ...

Nannapat1 Tue 08-Dec-20 09:56:04

I was born in 1952 and had the polio vaccine as an injection at some point in the 1950s, can't remember exactly when. I remember watching Emergency Ward 10 on TV and all those patients in terrifying iron lungs.

grandMattie Tue 08-Dec-20 09:56:15

Gosh yes. And in Mauritius where I was brought up, we had epidemics approximately every 10 years. I had polio very mildly myself aged 18 months, before vaccines were available, so feel very blessed that it is now so accessible!

Bazza Tue 08-Dec-20 09:59:50

I had the polio vaccine in the fifties when I was at boarding school. No disposable needles then, we were done alphabetically and as my name began with P by the time it got to me, it was very painful! I had a sore arm for days

Carol54 Tue 08-Dec-20 10:16:45

When my oldest daughter had her first vaccines in 1976 we lived in Birmingham and I was given a polio booster. I later found out that as it was an area with a large number of immigrants from the Indian subcontinent most of whom hadn't been vaccinated it was a way of protecting them. I think the vaccine was a live one in those days

4allweknow Tue 08-Dec-20 10:17:22

Can definitely remember the polio vaccination. I know there were definitely two injections needed if not a third. Being young at the time can't recall any debate about whether or not to have it. As it affected mainly the young wonder how it would have been viewed to round them up and stick them somewhere to survive or not as happened with the elderly in the current pandemic.

Mrst1405 Tue 08-Dec-20 10:20:22

I remember the polio vaccine and the small pox. I knew 2 people with with polio and they were both very disabled. The worst was anthrax vaccine I had a couple of times. I got a very red arm. I worked in a wool testing lab in Bradford and handled raw mohair, so we had to be vaccinated. I used to reckon if Sadam Hussain bombed us with anthrax it would be up to me to repopulate the planet!

tictacnana Tue 08-Dec-20 10:31:56

I had polio as a very small child as a result of the vaccine. Nevertheless, I would always advocate the uptake of any vaccine that saves lives and eradicates horrible diseases.

MadMaisie Tue 08-Dec-20 10:37:24

My dad had polio and went from being very active and sporty to spending over a year in hospital (some of it in an Iron lung) so I have very positive views on vaccination. We were in quarantine and had to have the house fumigated, soft toys thrown out. The library refused to have their books back, the laundry would not accept our washing and some family friends refused to come near the house, preferring to shout from the end of the garden (sound familiar?). Dad lost the use of one leg and only had one functioning lung (he was a teacher in a village school and assumed he had contracted the disease from the use of the communal towel in the cloakroom). He reckoned that his illness was responsible for the introduction of paper towels in his school. I was one of the first to be vaccinated in our area and had no reaction but my older brother was vaccinated later and had a flu-like reaction. I had probably had a mild case of polio as I was only a toddler at the time and had spent a lot of time with my dad. Polio certainly had a major effect on all our lives and get very annoyed by the scares and alarms about vaccines.

Granny23 Tue 08-Dec-20 10:42:41

I have good reason to remember the Polio vaccinations. Our parents were offered a choice - either the Canadian vaccine now (June) or the British version which would be available in the autumn. Mum and Dad discussed this - unfortunately my sister and I heard the discussion - all about that some children had died after having the Canadian one. They decided that we should have it rather than risk not being vaccinated before the Summer, when Polio was at its height.

I had the jab at school along with my class of 11 year olds. Returned to the classroom and came over all hot, faint and dizzy. The teacher mocked me as a feartie, told me to take my blazer off to cool down. I did and there was the arm of my blouse soaked in blood , still running down my arm. I was convinced I was going to die. This gave me a lifelong fear of blood tests and injections, bleeding of any kind with many instances of me passing out whenever someone approached me with a needle or even when my sister took a nose bleed on a bus and I passed out.

Second reason: my beloved husband contracted Polio when he was 17. He had been offered vaccination at college when it was rolled out to apprentices. His mother refused to give consent because she had read in the papers that some children had died. As a Queen's Scout he was selected to go as part of the Scottish Contingent to the Jubilee Jamboree at Sutton Coalfield - a gathering of thousands of Scouts from around the world. Came home, felt a bit rough and weak, saw GP who sent him to hospital, He went home on the bus! to tell his Mum and collect some PJ's then straight by ambulance to the 'fever' hospital. He was the last person in the County to be admitted there with Polio, which had been all but eradicated locally by the vaccination programme.

He was there for 3 months, his parents were not allowed in, could only wave to him from outside through a window. No physiotherapy was offered so he bought a drum kit, used that to build up the strength in his arms. His left arm remained weak for the rest of his life but he adapted and was a successful joiner and musician. Polio, for those that 'recover', is a life shortening illness, due to the extra pressure put on the heart, other muscles, etc. but he lived to be 80.

Did you know that thanks to Rotary International's vaccination programme, Polio has been eradicated in all parts of the World bar Pakistan and Afghanistan? and can you guess to whom our major donation in his memory went ?

Blossoming Tue 08-Dec-20 10:45:13

I remember going for the polio vaccine with my big brothers and sister, but I was pre-school age so can’t remember too much. It was at our GP surgery.

HannahLoisLuke Tue 08-Dec-20 10:49:13

I remember the polio vaccine and I'm sure I had a booster when pregnant with my first child. A girl I worked with had had polio at the age of ten and was paralysed from the chest down. It never stopped her leading an almost normal life in spite of being in a wheelchair. She said she used to swim for her school and caught it from the pool.
I was quite groggy after the smallpox vaccine which turned into a horrible scab.
One vaccination I've never had was the BCG for TB. I really should have had it as TB claimed a couple of aunts but I missed the school vaccination programme.