Dr. Jonas Salk was born in New York to Russian immigrant parents. He was encouraged to study hard and eventually attended medical school at New York University. He initially had a particular interest in the study of influenza.
Dr. Salk’s first major accomplishment came in the development of a vaccine that controlled the spread of the flu. The original vaccine that Salk created is the basis for the flu vaccine that is still used today.
Dr. Salk’s second great accomplishment came when began his work on the dreaded polio disease. Back in the 1950’s, American’s were fearful, especially in the summertime months. Polio was infecting people and crippling them by the thousands. Children were especially at risk. In 1955, Salk’s research finally paid off. News was released to the public that the human trials of the polio vaccine had worked on humans. Dr. Salk was thought to be a miracle worker.
Instead of reaping the financial benefits of his findings, Dr. Salk deciding that he would not seek a patent for the vaccine. He wanted the vaccine to be available to the public as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.
Dr. Salk’s polio vaccine was comprised of the “killed” polio virus. It was considered very safe and effective. Immunizations were given in shot form, which some patients did not care for. A few years later, a “live” vaccine was created that was administered orally. United States public health officials decided to use the oral vaccine instead of Dr. Salk’s for a period of time with tragic results. Some patients who received the oral vaccine were infected with polio instead of being immunized against it.
Dr. Salk went on to write several books and founded the Jonas Salk Institute for Biological Studies. In the 1980’s he also worked on a vaccine for AIDS. Dr. Salk died on June 23, 1995. He was 80 years old.
It’s hard to imagine a world today, without the incredible scientific contributions of Dr. Jonas Salk.
On March 9, 2006, the United States Postal Service issued a 63 cent postage stamp to honor Dr. Jonas Salk. If you would like to add the Dr. Salk postage stamp to your collection, contact Stamp Center today. We offer free shipping to our US customers and $4.50 flat rate shipping to our international customers.