Barrett, a Rhode Island physician, wrote to ask why doctors in private practice found it almost impossible to get the Salk
polio vaccine for their patients, even though public health clinics seemed to have plenty. This correspondence shows some
of the difficulties involved in producing and distributing polio vaccine nationwide during the first few years it was available.
Number of Image Pages:
1 (141,781 Bytes)
1957-05-28 (May 28, 1957)
Barrett, John T.
Fogarty, John E.
Original Repository: Phillips Memorial Library, Special and Archival Collections at Providence College
Reproduced with permission of the Rhode Island Medical Society.
Redefining the Federal Role in Public Health, Medical Research, and Education, 1949-1960
Public Health Service Progress Report on the Poliomyelitis Vaccination Program (January 24, 1956)
Letter from Otis L. Anderson to John E. Fogarty (July 15, 1957)
Letter from Otis L. Anderson to John E. Fogarty (July 18, 1957)
The Salk Vaccine Problem (May 3, 1955)
Letter from Otis L. Anderson to John E. Fogarty (June 3, 1957)
Letter from Leroy Burney to E. H. Beesley (April 9, 1957)
Box Number: 39
Folder Number: 562
28 May 1957
Dear Congressman Fogarty,
I hesitate to bother you about this problem, but John E. Farrell felt that you might be able to help me. I have been concerned
about the Salk vaccine situation in Rhode Island for some time and even more upset in recent weeks when there apparently is
ample vaccine available for the state and local clinic use but hardly a bit for the practicing physician. We are weekly informed
in the Journal-Bulletin that there will be free clinics on such a day but the doctor has had to turn his patients away because
of the shortages in commercial channels. As you can imagine, I have had all sorts of questions from my colleagues but have
had no adequate answer. Ed McLaughlin and George Kenny at the State House haven't been able to help. A letter was sent
Surgeon-General Burney on 21 May requesting his aid but as yet we have no reply. The wholesale houses in Providence evidently
are not in the "know" and those of us who are meeting patients are in a quandry [sic].
Would it be possible for your office to ascertain who is determining the ratio of clinic to private M.D. distribution? Does
USPHS direct the policy regarding this ratio or is it the manufactures of the Salk vaccine? Is there any promise that there
is any relief in sight for Rhode Island physicians and their patients.
At the moment there appears to be no coordinated plan of distribution in this state despite the fact that we have two committees
which are interested in the problem. The difficulty is that these committees have little power but to advise. A definitive
statement from Surgeon-General Burney regarding his policy would be of great help to us to explain the policy to the public.
Many thanks for your help.
John T. Barrett, M.D.
Chairman, Polio Advisory Committee of Rhode Island
Chairman, Polio Committee of the R. I. Medical Society