Research Video: America's youth recruit Elvis in the fight against Polio

Activity: Other activity typesMedia coverage or participation


Dr Stephen Mawdsley describes how the vaccine’s success was threatened in the USA by ‘vaccine hesitancy’. In 1957, as many as 30% of people still had no inoculations, and a third of all new cases were in teens. He uncovers how young people themselves – and Elvis Presley – became the answer to the problem, in what might be the first, largest and most successful case of teen health activism of the time. The fight waged against vaccine noncompliance in 1950s America, he suggests, could provide important lessons for the world today.
Period23 Apr 2016
Held atUniversity of Cambridge, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational