News from the Silerton Community of Chester County

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with Mary Lynn Lambert

Remember to pray for Matt Tyson as he continues to deal with health issues. Joie Freeman, Brenda Cooper and Sarah Chandler covet your prayers. John Jordan has been admitted to Jackson-Madison County Hospital and would appreciate prayers.
Since being quarantined, I have enjoyed looking through some old photo albums. Recently, I saw a picture of myself receiving the first polio vaccine in Hardeman County. The picture was probably made in 1955 or 1956. On that day I remember all the Silerton Elementary School children boarding the bus to travel to Bolivar to Dr. R. L. Cobb’s office to get a polio vaccine. I remember getting off the bus and not knowing where to go. Mrs. Hazel Beshires, teacher, took my hand and asked the students to follow. I had no idea I would be the first in the line. To my amazement, a photographer from the Bolivar Bulletin was there to get a picture of Dr. Cobb administering the vaccine. The next week, the picture was on the front page of the paper with the story of Hardeman County School students being vaccinated with the new polio vaccine. As a very young child, I can remember experiencing an ego trip, thinking I was quite important. Usually, Dr. Cobb, the county physician, came to the school to give shots to the students, but this was a big event in the medical field.
While thinking about the research going into the coronavirus vaccine, I decided to Google the polio vaccine. Posted by The Conversation on 3/25/2020 was the following post by Carl Kurlander titled “The deadly polio epidemic and why it matters for coronavirus”: “The fear and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic may feel new to many of us. But it is strangely familiar to those who lived through the polio epidemic of the last century….No one knew how polio was transmitted or what caused it….There was no known cure or vaccine….With the success of the polio vaccine, Jonas Salk, 39, became one of the most celebrated scientists in the world….Leading drug manufacturers made the vaccine available, and more than 400 million doses were distributed between 1955 and 1962, reducing the cases of polio by 90 percent. By the end of the century, the polio scare had become a faint memory.”
As a child, I remember hearing my parents and other adults discussing their opinions on the horrors of the disease and the pros and cons of getting the vaccine. As children, we were told not to put chilly water on our bodies if we were hot. We were to wait until we had cooled off before we went wading in the creeks or ponds so we would not be taking a chance to get the disease. Quoting from the article: “…Salk’s youngest son, Dr. Jonathan Salk, recounted how his father wondered every day why we couldn’t apply the spirit of what happened with the development of the polio vaccine to other problems, such as disease or poverty. In fighting coronavirus, perhaps the citizens and governments of the world will rise to the occasion and demonstrate what is possible when we work together.” You can read the full article at https://theconversation.com/the-deadly-polio-epidemic-and-why-it-matters-for-coronavirus-133976.