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From the Archives: Polio immunization

From the Archives: Polio immunization
Feb. 25, 1957: Manuel Reyes, 7, peeks apprehensively between fingers at a needle just before getting his polio shot at Castelar Street School as two little girls await their turn. (Garry Watson / Los Angeles Times)

In 1957, the city of Los Angeles Health Department opened a drive to immunize 300,000 children against polio.

This photo by staff photographer Garry Watson became lead Page One art in the next morning's Los Angeles Times.

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An accompanying Los Angeles Times story reported, “Ouch!

“That cry echoed through the halls of 13 Los Angeles elementary schools yesterday as the City Health Department opened its campaign to immunize 300,000 children against polio.

Between now and June, Salk vaccine supplied by the state will be made available in more than 500 public and parochial schools for pupils who haven't yet been inoculated.

The Salk vaccine, developed by Jonas Salk, and a second oral vaccine, developed by Albert Sabin, were distributed in massive immunization programs. Worldwide polio has almost been eliminated by these two vaccines.

Garry Watson took this image with a Speed Graphic camera. He exposed 4-by-5-inch black-and-white film at 1/250th a second with the aperture set between f/16 and f/22.

Watson says he included the nurse in the image, but she was cropped out. "The crop made the picture."

This post was originally published on April 26, 2011.

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