To the Editor,
On April 12, 1955, the Salk vaccine for polio was declared “safe, effective and potent.” Jonas Salk, inventor of the ‘killed polio virus vaccine’ was interviewed by CBS newsman Edward R. Morrow and was asked who owned the patent.
“Well, the people, I would say.”
Franklin D. Roosevelt, himself a victim of polio, established the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, later renamed the March of Dimes Foundation. It was the March of Dimes that funded the research for Salk’s vaccine. While developed countries eradicated polio, it continued to flourish around the word until 1988 when the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (the GPEI) was founded. By 2016 the number of paralytic cases was reduced by 99.99 percent, with only 42 cases reported in that year worldwide.
The rising COVID-19 numbers are alarming and the reporting of such across the media is relentless. News is emerging of two possible vaccines for the novel coronavirus, so why don’t we hear more good news of what is going on behind the scenes and on the ground? There is a concerted, coordinated effort to eradicate COVID-19 by organizations with experience in fighting global diseases, such as the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, The World Bank and the World Health Organization, to name a few. Canada is at the forefront of funding this effort, and as COVID knows no borders, it would be insanity not to work hard to find equitable access for vulnerable people, both within and outside of our borders.
I am proud to be Canadian at a time like this, and I hope that Canada continues to put at least one percent of its COVID-19 response in new and additional aid towards an emergency global response to end the pandemic everywhere. We must leave no one behind.