Events Calendar

Maggie Jones, Emory University

Money, History and Finance

Monday, April 01, 2024, 02:30pm - 04:00pm

“A Vaccination Scar: The Cutter Incident and Medical Mistrust in America” (with Kate Fairley and David Rosé)

Jonas Salk's development of the first effective Polio vaccine in 1952 brought hope that there would be an end to the devastation caused by endemic poliomyelitis. During the rush to deliver vaccines in 1955, two of the manufacturers licensed to produce the Salk vaccine, Cutter Laboratories and Wyeth, failed to properly inactivate the virus in some lots of the vaccine. As a result, thousands of American children were inoculated with live poliovirus which caused hundreds of cases of paralysis, and 5 deaths. Ultimately, this episode, which became known as the Cutter Incident, led to better government oversight of vaccine production; however, its impact on individual decision-making, in particular with respect to health-seeking behaviors, remains unknown. We study the impact of exposure to the Cutter Incident on vaccination intentions, mortality, and disease prevalence in the United States over the latter half of the twentieth century. We show that polio eradication was slower in states that were affected by the Cutter Incident and that these regions experienced higher rates of vaccine-preventable deaths and illnesses through the 1990s.  We examine the amplifying and dampening effects of media exposure and in-migration, on belief transmission.

2:30pm-4:00pm | In Person, Room 101, NJ Hall & Zoom | Coordinators: Martin Saavedra and Eugene Zoom Link:

Location  In Person, Room 101, NJ Hall & Zoom
Contact  Martin Saavedra and Eugene White