Some readers may recall the relief that flooded the nation when Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine finally opened to the American public in 1955. At the time, polio cases were infecting tens of thousands of children per year, leaving many disabled or dead. Since release of the vaccine, mass global vaccination efforts have isolated wild polio virus to just two countries worldwide: Afghanistan and Pakistan.
All 50 states have laws on the books mandating polio vaccine—and all 50 states have vaccine mandates for diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (DTaP) and measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). Many other readers, including me, likely remember getting these shots and others in the school nurse’s office. The results are clear: this year, there has been only a single recorded case of measles in the entire United States; there have been 41 cases of mumps; and there are fewer than 10 cases of rubella each year. There has not been a single case of polio in the U.S. since 1979.
Some in DC are discussing mandates for the COVID-19 vaccine, which was developed under former President Trump—but I think The Herald Times readers and our fellow Americans are smarter than letting it come to that. You shouldn’t need a government mandate to help you review the facts:
Jan. 8, 2021: approx. 259,616 daily COVID-19 cases
Jan. 8, 2021: approx. 3,062 daily deaths
July 28, 2021: approx. 66,924 daily COVID-19 cases.
July 28, 2021: approx. 316 daily deaths
The numbers are striking—after several months of vaccinating, COVID cases are down more than 74 percent and COVID-related deaths are down more than 89 percent compared to the pandemic’s height in January. For all the talk of mask mandates and social distancing, vaccines are what really move the needle to save lives.
Don’t just take my word for it, or former President Trump’s word for it, or any other politician’s or political person’s word for it. Review the facts and I’m confident you’ll come to the same conclusion I did: the COVID vaccine is a modern miracle and it’s worth lining up for your shot.
Sam G. Love
Washington, DC Meeker High School ’08
Special to The Herald Times
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