The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

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HYDE PARK—This is a rather sad tale -- for my granddaughter. In Paris she received a cable saying that unfortunately her camel came from an area where there was foot and mouth disease, and hence could not be admitted to the U. S. Since the first disappointment, everyone has been busy trying to decide what to do with the camel in Beersheba, Israel! We hope it will find a good home in spite of the fact that everyone who knows camels tells us that the best camel is the most disagreeable one, and that our hope of an agreeable pet was a vain one.

To my amusement, most of the news stories I have seen speak of my having paid for the camel and aided and abetted this particular project. As a matter of fact, I paid nothing for the camel and just let matters take their own course. The way to learn is to do things yourself without too much intereference from the aged, as long as nothing really harmful seems to be going to happen to you!

This colemn will appear the day after the anniversary of my husband's death. On that day, those who think of him with gratitude are always particularly thankful for the National Foundation. Without the work of the foundation, the Salk vaccine would perhaps not have been developed for many years. Now that we have it, all of us should at least make sure that we and our children are protected from the recurrence of polio epidemics, which always produce a sharp rise in paralytic polio cases.

The epidemic season is again approaching, yet 98 million Americans still have not had a single shot of Salk vaccine. To be fully safeguarded, you should have three shots. There are special instances where people cannot be safeguarded, but the great majority, if they will take the shots, can be spared this dread disease.

In Israel, for example, I visited a very remarkable set-up for the care and rehabilitation of children who suffered in the 1958 polio outbreak in that country. Israel had made an effort to use the Salk vaccine on a fairly wide scale in 1957 and 1958. The case rate among those who had received three shots of vaccine was only 11 per 10,000 population. Where there had only been two shots, there were 42 cases per 10,000 among children. Where there was no vaccination, the rate was 46 cases per 10,000. This would seem striking evidence that if we hope to decrease the incidence of paralytic polio anywhere in the world we must find means to have everybody vaccinated.

Children below the age of five seem to be the most vulnerable, but everyone under 40—and even those above—should now have these three shots, because vaccine is plentiful. Communities should try to see that no one is unvaccinated either because of lack of knowledge or lack of money. Vaccination clinics charge one dollar to cover the cost of the vaccine and the necessary equipment for using it. But to those who cannot afford the dollar, it should be made perfectly clear that this is no reason why they should not be vaccinated. The National Foundation will help any community to start its program to get complete coverage this year.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]

About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, April 13, 1959

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Digital edition published 2008, 2017 by
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MEP edition publlished on June 30, 2008.

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.