Polio – Unconditional Surrender (1956)

From The National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, Unconditional Surrender looks more closely at the steps involved in making the polio vaccine.

The makers of this movie seek to educate how important the vaccine manufacture protocol, thus safety and efficacy, is. Following production comes testing and retesting. And cute bunnies. Then off to The National Institutes for Health complex where the protocol is examined. Samples from every batch end up in the labs of the NIH, tested for sterility, tissue culture, incubation tests, monkey tests… all designed to ensure safety and efficacy. Many are repeats of those done during manufacture.

In that wonderful victorious lilt of 1950’s narration viewers were held in confidence by such turns of phrase as “man’s enemy becomes his servant”. Of course, the unstated purpose was also to maintain confidence following The Cutter Incident named after Cutter Laboratories – the first lab to unwittingly dispense live virus vaccines instead of killed. This resulted in infections, and still later it became plain not only Cutter lab’s were struggling with Salk’s protocol.

It resulted in a suspension of only one fortnight. A good deal of Paul Offit’s book The Cutter Incident can be found at Google Books.

Unconditional Surrender