Elvis Presley Got Polio Vaccine in 1956 Photo Op to Increase Public Confidence

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The year was 1956, and the nation was in turmoil as it faced another epidemic — polio. A vaccine was just approved but like now, many were skeptical about getting the shot.

So the king of rock ‘n’ roll himself, Elvis Presley, agreed to get the vaccine backstage at the Ed Sullivan show. Afterward, the rate of teens getting the vaccine went from 0.6% to 80%.

Inside Edition spoke to Ruth Taber, the Health Department worker who asked him to do it. She is now 91. We asked her if one of today’s biggest stars getting the vaccine could have the same impact.

“I think every popular singer, star will appeal to some segment, so you can’t lose with no matter who you go for as long as they are a popular icon,” Taber said.


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