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Guest Column-Portland Press Herald



This fall, the search for safe and effective vaccines to combat COVID-19 has intensified, and possible start dates for vaccination have emerged and are being debated. It’s easy for many of us “golden teens” to ruminate in the early days when they had to provide weapons to science and the nation.

The first memory I had when I took the shot was when our family car had to drive on an old brick road about a mile away from the clinic. Already suffering from butterflies in my stomach and I knew the shot was offshore, the swaying car rattled my nerves and diminished my courage. A few years later, I had to drive a paved car in an old section of Charleston or Savannah, and whenever the car started shaking, it was flashback time. I had to fight the urge to open the door and run. hill.

In 1954, March of Dimes sponsored Dr. Jonas Salk’s experimental polio vaccine and participated in the largest field trial in history in the United States. A previous field trial of Salk in 10,000 adolescents killed nine people and was at risk because of their lack of immunity.

Despite the risk, I don’t remember hearing about permits and parents’ briefings. It didn’t matter. Our parents witnessed the deaths and cripples of major polio epidemics in 1949 and 1952 in our neighborhood. “Does Dr. Soak have a vaccine against polio? This is my child!”

The nuns in our school were pretty cunning in preparing for our field trial shots. On Friday, all eight grades went to the morning mass. After that, the mothers offered still warm glass donuts and hot chocolate in the basement of the church. Plan — Mass, give a shot, they can eat all the glossy donuts that a small belly can have. Berlin would have been captured a year ago if the FDR had left the nuns to invade Europe.

I remember the sugar-coated breakfast and our group of 10 and 11 years old working hard to become clowns and machos on the shotline. The nuns and girls must have thought that we were all fighting for the Dufs of the Year.

Jonas Salk spent his early research period investigating influenza, leaving the roots of a New York City nagaya, but moved on to polio research. He experimented with killed poliovirus vaccines and tested them in patients in mental hospitals and facilities for the disabled. Dr. Soak funded a successful 1954 field trial with the support of the FDR and March of Dime. He called the school children who participated in the 1954 trial a “polio pioneer.”

He published 90% effective results and the soak vaccine was approved in 1955. Vaccine distribution has started nationwide. In Stanton, Nebraska, Getchu children, who lost their father in the 1952 epidemic, received the first soak vaccine in the county.

Dr. Soak was later asked by the press, “Who owns the vaccine patent?” “No patents. Can I get a patent for the sun?” National Hero,

Dr. Soak devoted the rest of his life looking for vaccines and treatments for MS, cancer and AID.

I didn’t know how many illnesses there were until I arrived at the Marine Corps recruitment base in San Diego at the age of 17. After your M-1 rifle, the corps learned that they kept your shot card sacred. We made some serious injections.

Marines have a history of being shipped to hell infected with all bacteria and viruses around the world. During deployment, the unit cannot lose time to take shots. Even if you don’t have a known case of a particular illness, you will try it.

solution? Our DI marches the platoon to the US Navy Clinic. We line up in a single file, roll up the sleeves of the T-shirt from the shortest to the height, and a Navy hospital technician taps iodine on each of the upper arms. Old Henry Ford was proud of this time-saving, highly efficient assembly line approach.


Volunteers will be injected with either the experimental COVID-19 vaccine or comparative shots as part of the first human trial in the UK to test a potential vaccine led by the University of Oxford. Oxford University via AP

Hospital technicians on either side of our line will give at least two shots to each arm. When I went outside, I did push-ups and saw DI blood dribbling through the puncture holes in each shot. After getting out of the way with such two trips and 8-10 shots, I wanted a final shoot-up. It was a very old hat and only the DI of our head was with us.

We lined up and tapped the iodine target. The short guys who got the two-arm shot went out and then did a dribble blood push-up that required DI. Instead of jabs, hospital technicians started throwing syringes like pub darts on iodine’s arms, with clear shores, pushing plungers, pulling out needles. Once the needle has entered and the syringe has been hung from the arm, the technician grabs it, tilts it to a horizontal level, pushes the tab and pulls out the needle.

Everything went well until the syringe flew for a few minutes and the stinger began to hit the bones of the upper arm and a large crack was heard. The needle broke and the syringe fell to the deck. Many saw and felt needles with broken arms. The syringe on the deck was soon joined by some handed out recruits.

Words of syringe targeting practice reached our DI and charged inside with rage to discover that hospital technicians had escaped from the rear exit. He found that trying to make regular shot holes had a much bigger problem than shedding small blood. We didn’t know what disciplinary action was taken against hospital technicians. Ordered to rack in a rare afternoon off.

The absolutely worst boot camp shot I had was for smallpox. The last American incident was in 1949, but the corps ensured you got yours. This is what it looked like when I was 17 years old. A lancet was used, which is best described as a thick needle that was broken and had jagged edges. The smallpox vaccine was applied to the coin-sized area of ​​the upper arm.

The jagged edges of the lancet were used to pierce the rat, pierce the skin, and vaccinate through a small wound. After it healed, you had a nickel-sized scar that looked like a perforated face on the moon. Girls in their 50s and early 60s had the option of not leaving scars on their upper arms. They were able to vaccinate smallpox in the upper limbs. We couldn’t have predicted the emergence of shorts, miniskirts and almost non-existent bikinis.

Throughout these years have I enjoyed providing the right arm for these shots? No, I hate every shot, but I know their purpose, the horrific illness they are keeping away from my life. And I trust science. I regularly follow my doctor’s instructions to keep my civilian shot cards up to date. This includes tetanus, singles, five years of pneumonia, and four-fold more effective annual influenza vaccinations over the age of 65. Influenza vaccination is currently being done at our local pharmacy.

When will the COVID-19 vaccine be available when it becomes available? Yes, and I don’t need my youth’s sugar-coated glossy glossy donuts to convince me. Because we are now at the 200,000 level of Americans lost to the beast. Every night in the evening news, I watched graphic films of people around the world on a ventilator, just as polio victims of the 1950s were out of breath in search of air.

Over the past few weeks, three major advisory groups have issued recommendations for groups following healthcare professionals and first responders when they are ready for vaccination.

If you’re not sure if you can get this shot, be aware that you may be unknowingly infecting someone who loves this deadly fast virus, even if it seems asymptomatic and safe. please.

I believe there is no other choice, but “Yes, I’ll get a shot when it’s my turn.”

Tom Murphy is a former history teacher and state representative. He is a resident of Kennebank Landing and [email protected]

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