1956 Albert Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award

Salk polio vaccine

The development of a safe and effective protection against the ravages of poliomyelitis has been for many years the goal of countless investigators and the prayer of untold millions of anxious parents. The ultimate attainment of this goal has been made possible only by the imagination and the labors of innumerable scientists, each of whom has made his small bit to the understanding of this disease. So has man's insight into poliomyelitis grown until it should befall to one man to bring together this accumulated knowledge and apply it with courage and determination to the ultimate development of a vaccine that could be used with safety. The trial of this vaccine and the measure of its effectiveness have again involved the labors of fellow scientists and have been made possible only through the trusting cooperation of the children and parents of America, each of whom in his small way has contributed to the realization of this long-sought objective.

From this record of human endeavor, there emerges one person, however, who more than any other, symbolized the thought and the labor that have gone into the development of a vaccine against poliomyelitis. To Jonas Salk was it given to weld together the contributions of his fellow scientists, to add to this foundation the fruits of his own research so as to emerge with man's first really effective weapon against this most dreaded of all diseases. The road has been hard, the obstacles great, but his vision, perseverance and courage have been greater.

To the many scientific workers whose contributions have served as building stones to the development of a poliomyelitis vaccine, to those investigators who have tested its efficacy, and to the children and parents who have shared in its trials, the American Public Health Association extends its recognition and appreciation of their contribution to human welfare. To Jonas Salk, who symbolizes the labor and participation of his fellow scientists, and who through his own imagination and personal labors, has not only provided an effective protection against poliomyelitis but, in doing so, has given relief to the fears and worries of parents everywhere, the American Public Health Association presents this Lasker Award in token of outstanding contribution to the welfare of mankind.