The Polio Crusade: Exploring Diseases of the Past

Sometimes it’s hard to talk about COVID-19 because we are in the middle of the pandemic. It can be easier to discuss a disease of the past. Polio was a particularly interesting disease because it primarily affected children and was heavily featured in media as part of the March of Dimes campaign, run by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis.

Watch A Paralyzing Fear: The Story of Polio in America or The Polio Crusade.

  1. Why were people so afraid of polio?
  2. What were some of the ways that the NFIP raised money through the March of Dimes campaigns?
  3. What were some obstacles that scientists faced in developing an effective vaccine?
  4. Why were most parents willing and eager to volunteer their children for the trials?

Talk to your older relatives and ask about their experiences with polio or with the vaccine. Did they have polio? What was their treatment like? Did they know kids or adults with polio? When did they receive the vaccine?