I WAS born in Clerkenwell, in the middle of London, in August 1946.

In July 1947, I and many other people contracted polio.

It is a fairly mild infection. The symptoms are a high temperature and a sore throat.

But it is a highly infectious virus and, contrary to popular belief, almost everybody in the area would have caught it.

The after-effects, however, can be catastrophic.

It finds its way into the spinal cord of about 1 in 200 of those who catch it.

There, it damages the nerves that work muscles, any muscles, a few muscles or many muscles.

I was ‘lucky’, only a few muscles were affected.

I went to ordinary schools and have led a full and active adult life. (Although not much of a sportsman!) If I had been born in 1956 instead, I would not have caught polio.

In fact, Great Britain has been free of polio for probably fifty years.

It is the same around the world.

Only this year, the whole of Africa was declared polio free. Why?

Because a vaccine was developed and given to millions of people. No other reason.

It’s not magic; it’s the application of medical science.

Vaccination is the only way in which Covid-19 will be eliminated.

If reassurance about the safety of a new vaccine is needed, then look at how long the trials are taking.

Lessons from the past have been learnt. Despite what some politicians are saying (for their own dubious reasons), it seems unlikely that approval will be obtained for any vaccine in less than a year from now.

So obey the rules, be patient but, above all, as soon as it becomes possible, get vaccinated for all our sakes.


Royston Drive, Wimborne