The University Health Service will inoculate free of charge anyone who can obtain vials of the new Salk polio vaccine, and is considering the possibility of encouraging inoculation for the whole College when supplies become generally available, Dr. Dana L. Farnsworth, Director of the Service, said last night.
"But with the cost of a series of shots estimated at $7, the Department would go bankrupt if it tried to provide everyone with free vaccine," he added.
Time Factor Uncertain
It is still unknown when the vaccine will become freely available, since the production rates of the pharmaceutical houses licensed for manufacture are still indefinite. The released date will also depend upon whether the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis follows Dr. Jonas Salk's suggestion to increase the period between the second and third shots from three weeks to seven months.
"The situation will have clarified by the fall," Farnsworth said, "and then we will be able to decide more definitely what we will do, although naturally we feel it would be worthwhile to inoculate everyone to prevent even one case."
Although according to the official evaluation "there appears to be an increase in effectiveness as age increases," a large number of adults have already contracted a mild form of the disease, and have thus been rendered immune.
The Health Service has no immediate plans for pressing for compulsory immunization similar to the mandatory smallpox vaccination for incoming freshmen. "If the vaccine continues to prove successful," Farnsworth said, "everyone will be inoculated before reaching the University, anyway."