The success of the COVID-19 vaccine will depend on us all
I know what I want for at Christmas — FDA approval for a COVID-19 vaccine.
And I would love it if it came a little early.
From all accounts, it appears this may happen, given a couple of U.S. companies get the go-ahead in the next few days.
While I’m not at the top of the list to be inoculated, just knowing help is on the way gives me hope that, soon, things will begin to return to normal.
That is if everyone is willing to be immunized once the vaccine is available.
There are some who are saying they aren’t sure they would get the vaccine, and I am bewildered as to why they would hesitate.
Vaccines can save lives.
Just go back a few decades to when the polio epidemic broke out in the ’50s.
At its height, which was in 1952, there were 60,000 cases in America, with 3,000 of those fatal and another 21,000 who were left paralyzed.
My mother had a dear friend, Celia Cole, who contracted the illness and had to come to Vicksburg where she was put in an iron lung.
She survived childhood polio but it left one leg smaller than the other.
With further research on polio, I learned that like Covid it is a contagious viral illness. Also similar to the coronavirus, the majority of people who were infected with polio didn’t get sick.
But, who was to know who might suffer from either fatal or paralytic complications?
One account I read on the internet, told of a 6-year-old boy named Frankie Flood who contracted polio.
The year was 1953 and for Frankie, it started out as nothing more than a head cold. However, when his symptoms escalated, and he began gasping for air, his parents took him to the emergency room. Unfortunately, he died on the way to the operating room.
A couple of years following Frankie’s death a vaccine was discovered by virologist Jonas Salk .
Salk conducted the first human trials on his former patients as well as on himself and his family. Clinical trials followed and in 1956 the vaccine became widely distributed.
In lieu of a shot, an oral vaccine was later developed.
To this day, I can remember being in the Jett Elementary School cafeteria, lined up behind my classmates, having a little muffin tin like liner placed in my hands, and in it was a sugar cube that contained the polio vaccine.
Polio has been nearly eradicated due to a successful vaccination program.
And now, we do not have to fear it.
Soon, very soon, hopefully, we will begin the process of stamping out COVID-19.
But it will take all of us getting on board.
When my age group is allowed to get the shot, I plan to be at the front of the line because vaccines save lives.
Terri Cowart Frazier is a staff writer for The Vicksburg Post. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.