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LSC-North Harris celebrates 60th anniversary of the polio vaccine

While a national conversation about vaccines continues to attract debate, Lone Star College-North Harris is taking time to celebrate one that has, without question, saved thousands of lives. The college will host a Polio Symposium, honoring the 60th Anniversary of the Salk polio vaccine, on Thursday, April 9 at 6 p.m. in the Winship Building, room 209, located at 2700 W. W. Thorne Drive in Houston. This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

The United States polio epidemic peaked in 1952, after polio had struck nearly 58,000 people, mostly children and young adults. The most critically ill were confined to a mechanical ventilator known as an iron lung, while others survived, but faced a lifetime of disability or paralysis. 

“This is a very important medical milestone that we are celebrating,” said LSC-North Harris professor of biology, Carol Crowder. “LSC-North Harris is proud to feature this wonderful exhibit for the community to see, and learn about the importance of the polio vaccine and the impact it has had on the world.”

The event will feature a presentation by LSC-North Harris professor of biology, Carol Crowder, followed by the PBS video, The Polio Crusade, and a question and answer session from three local polio survivors. Guests are encouraged to visit the LSC-North Harris polio exhibit, featuring pictures, artifacts and an actual iron lung ventilator chamber.

Dr. Jonas Salk’s vaccine was declared safe and effective on April 12, 1955, after a year of field trials on 1.8 million schoolchildren. It contained ‘inactivated’ viruses so it was not possible to become infected from the vaccine. Dr. Albert Sabin’s ‘attenuated’ polio vaccine became available in the early 1960’s. Because of widespread vaccination, polio was eliminated from the Western Hemisphere in 1994. Today, it continues to circulate in a handful of countries, with occasional spread to neighboring countries. Vigorous vaccination programs are being conducted to eliminate these last pockets. Polio vaccination is still recommended worldwide because of the risk of imported cases.

For more information about this event, contact Carol Crowder at 281.618.5779.

Lone Star College-North Harris is located at 2700 W.W. Thorne Drive, one-half mile south of FM 1960 East, between Aldine-Westfield and Hardy Roads. For more information about the college, call 281.618.5400 or visit LoneStar.edu/NorthHarris.

Lone Star College has been opening doors to a better community for more than 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSC remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with almost 83,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 95,000, Lone Star College is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and one of the fastest-growing community colleges in the nation. Stephen C. Head, Ph.D., is the chancellor of LSC, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, seven centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.