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Polio on Trial

What if there is a vaccine, but not everyone gets it? Exploring the lessons of the polio vaccine's shortcomings as we address a new public health crisis today.

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Scientists are racing to develop potential vaccines. Labs are preparing for widespread testing. Families are desperate for an answer to a public health crisis.

This was the story in 1954, when a new vaccine to prevent polio persuaded the parents of more than a million children to join a nationwide trial. Ed Ayers, host of The Future of America's Past, learns from a polio survivor, an epidemiologist, and a scholar about the successes and challenges of distributing a new vaccine.