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    • grahamc47f5e7b34

      During a polio outbreak in my home town of 25,000 people in Australia in 1954, I was only 3 years old, going on 4, and I was one of the victims. Two years later the Salk vaccine came to town and all the kids (including me) were vaccinated. That was the last polio outbreak in my town, ever. That was the last time anyone in my town died because polio killed the muscles of their diaphragm, making them unable to breathe. It was the last time anyone in my town ended up having to spend their lives in a wheelchair or with severely shortened or useless legs or arms due to polio. I was lucky. I entered hospital every two years until I was 16 having various kinds of corrective surgery on my feet. One foot ended up stunted and about four shoe sizes smaller than the other, which is flat, so I have no ability to walk on my right heel. I spent years with my left leg in iron braces to stop the foot from twisting. Thankfully, due to the development of better surgical procedures, I was able to walk almost normally. For most of my life I wore specially-made shoes to fit my feet. Now I am also able to wear good quality sport shoes with orthotic insoles. I am a successful teacher, and currently teach English to primary-age children in China. Since being here, I have seen several people in their 30s and 40s who have obviously contracted polio earlier in their lives, but were unable to receive the corrective surgery I did. They are like a vision of what I might have been like! Today, thanks to the polio vaccines, polio has been eradicated in China, and in most of the world. Don’t even attempt to tell me that kids shouldn’t receive the polio vaccine! What a terrible thing it would be for the world if the anti-vaccination lobby had their way and there was a return - or even a fraction of a return - to the bad old days of polio epidemics and the terrible, life-long effects polio had on the victims’ bodies.

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