Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a bad virus affecting the whole world. It made some people sick, but they recovered. Many other people died, many of them children. At the worst of the outbreak, 60,000 children died in one summer. Others got better, but they needed help breathing in order to live. Some were left with other kinds of lifelong weaknesses.
Medical scientists worked for about 15 years to discover how to make a vaccine to protect humankind from this scourge. At long last, they came up with the answer. During the mid-fifties, the miracle was finally available for all.
The people cheered and were grateful to Dr. Jonas Salk and his research team for working so hard. They eagerly lined up to get their shot to protect them from the polio virus. The miracle did not come soon enough for my friend Nancy or my cousin Bud.
Then one day a nurse came to my grade school classroom. We all stood next to our desks with our permission slips in hand, waiting for our turn. When our row was called, we went to the front of the room, got our shot and returned to our desk. It was that simple, and polio was eventually eradicated from the world.
We are facing another viral pandemic. We can thank Dr. Salk once again for laying the groundwork so our scientists could create a vaccine in a much shorter time.
I sure wish we could have a fairy-tale ending. We could all line up next to our desks once again and live happily ever after.
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin