The Polio Clinic
When I was very young, I remember going to the Polio Clinic. My older sister, trying her best to be "helpful" filled my head with horrible stories of big, square, needles, needles poking through your arm, people fainting -all the standard big sister mind games. I was actually a little too young to grasp the concept of mass immunization, any shots I had received before were at the doctor's office.
When we got there, it was at some public health building, I remember long rows of windows, and lots of children, probably more than I had ever seen in one place. I got my shot, no big deal, and we were out of there. Later on, the oral vaccines were introduced. Those clinics were at our junior high school. I remember every one was dressed up, as if they were going to church. It is hard to imagine what horror it must have been to have been a parent whose child was fine one day, and crippled the next. I remember children in elementary school wearing braces for polio-related reasons.
Currently, Polio is making a comeback in parts of Africa, some parents refusing to allow vaccinations for religious reasons. I wonder that if we had a workable vaccine for AIDS would the public participate in mass inoculations? I also wonder if Polio was a new disease now how much effort would be put into a cure, or would the drug companies figure out some drug regimen which would not cure but only keep symptoms under control?
The John Waters' movie Cry Baby starts with an excellent reenactment of a polio clinic with the main character (Johnny Depp) getting his "shot".