A question has come in about the history of polio in Fargo.
It comes from Jonas Dravland, Lenoir, N.C., who recently read a book titled “Polio: An American Story,” concerning the search for an effective polio vaccine. That led him to write Neighbors.
“I lived as a child in Moorhead from 1957 to 1960, then moved to Fargo, where we lived in 1960-1963,” Jonas writes.
“I have a recollection of a mass vaccination event at the Civic Center Plaza in Fargo.
“It was outside, and there were crowds as far as I could see lined up for sugar cubes with little pink dots on them.
“The line moved quickly, and we all got a sugar cube. I thought it was quite a treat.
“My recollection,” he says, “is that this occurred when I was a preschooler living in Moorhead, perhaps 1959, when I was 5, although it could have been as late as 1961 or 1962 when we lived in Fargo and I was in first or second grade at Horace Mann School.”
Jonas, by the way, was a Forum paperboy in the late ‘60s.
“My book (mentioned above),” he goes on, “describes open trials of the Sabin vaccine happening in 1958 and 1959. So if I am correct as to when it happened, then perhaps I was part of the original field trials of the vaccine.
“As a pediatrician nearing retirement, and an ardent vaccine proponent, I find that possibility quite exciting.
“In this era of anti-vaxxers, it is amazing to recall how eager everyone was to be free of the dread of this disease.”
Jonas is hopeful that you Forum readers will recall this event and when it happened.
Let Neighbors know.
If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 701-241-5487 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.