A New Generation of Vaccines for All Children

A New Generation of Vaccines for All Children

Christopher Elias, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Blog

Times were tough in the United States in 1938. Unemployment was at 19 percent as the country crawled out of the Great Depression. Nevertheless, President Franklin Roosevelt decided it was time to launch a multimillion dollar campaign to confront the devastating polio epidemics that were striking the country.

Little was known about polio when FDR created the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis. To increase funding for polio research, the foundation launched the March of Dimes fundraising campaign, which asked the public to send their dimes to the White House. During the first four months, the White House received more than two million dimes! By 1953, the annual appeals raised more than $50 million. The March of Dimes was, in essence, the first public-private partnership for vaccine developmentā€”and it was a success.

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