Exit polio.

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About this work


This film looks at the production and testing of oral polio vaccine and how it differs from the injectable form - includes valuable footage of laboratory work on vaccines and children taking the oral form on a sugar lump. Footage is also shown of trial work by health authorities in various other parts of the world. 2 segments.


England, 1961.

Physical description

1 encoded moving image (10.30 min.) : sound, black and white



Copyright note

British Medical Association

Terms of use

Open with advisory.

Language note

In English.

Creator/production credits

Produced by Pfizer Ltd. and Star Sound Studios.


Segment 1 The film title is seen over images of the sugar lump polio vaccine and a child eating one of the sugar lumps. The film's presenter is then seen sitting at a desk talking about how the oral vaccine is a great success compared to the previous jab. He says the film will explain how the oral vaccine is produced, how it differs to the injectable form and why it is superior to the polio jab. Over images of a pharmaceutical plant, the presenter tells how the drugs industry began looking for an alternative to the jab vaccine developed by Jonas Salk. This is partly because the injection vaccine was not being taken up by enough people, highlighted by the death of footballer Jeff Hall in 1959. A group of professionals including medical researcher Albert Sabin went to work. A very detailed look at the processes involved in producing the Sabin vaccine is then shown, including harvesting healthy monkey kidneys to cultivate the virus, preparing the kidneys and producing tissue cultures from them. Time start: 00:00:00:00 Time end: 00:04:23:07 Length:00:04:23:07
Segment 2 The polio virus is kept in deep freeze until required. One quarter of the tissue cultures prepared from the monkey kidneys are the control, and the rest are infected. These groups of tissue cultures then undergo many tests. The vaccine is then tested on animals such as rabbits, mice and monkeys. A monkey is seen being examined for signs of polio. The results of the tests are then submitted to the Medical Research Council, which conducts its own control tests. After this, a trial was undertaken with members of the public - some are seen taking the oral vaccine. An animation shows the advantages of the Sabin oral vaccine over the Salk jab vaccine. The oral vaccine works very quickly, allowing it to be used effectively in mass campaigns. The oral vaccine also results in immunity in the intestine as well as in the bloodstream, as opposed to the jab, which allows the virus to be carried in the bowel even after immunisation. The narrator tells of a trial that took place in Cincinatti in the US, where not one case of polio was found after the trial took place. The presenter then stresses the advantages of the oral vaccine and the need to vaccinate everyone, even those who previously were injected with the Salk vaccine. Time start: 00:04:23:07 Time end: 00:10:29:11 Length: 00:06:06:04


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