Have You Had Your Shots?

Have You Had Your Shots?

The Vaccination Assistance Act of 1962 established the Federal Immunization Grant Program under Section 317 of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Service Act. Beginning in June 1963, the program provided grants to state and local health departments to support mass immunization campaigns.

Although most immunization campaigns were for young children, Clemson College conducted its first student immunization program in October 1963. The two-day event provided vaccines for polio and the flu, and also administered the Tine test to screen for tuberculosis (TB).

The flu shot, containing six strains in one dose, was administered by compressed air gun. The polio vaccine was administered through a new method of adding two drops of poliomyelitus vaccine to a cup of water. Previously, the polio vaccine was administered by needle and syringe.

The Tine test was given by pressing a four-pronged V-shaped capsule against the skin to make a slight scratch. A few days later the skin was checked for a reaction. ROTC students had their TB tests read during their weekly drill on Bowman Field. If the test was positive, the student was scheduled for an x-ray to check for tuberculosis.

The October 4, 1963 issue of The Tiger described the immunization process which took place in the Johnstone Hall lounge: “Students will enter the Lounge from the B Dormitory, fill out an IBM card, receive the needle-less flu shot, a cup of water with the polio vaccine and the Tine test. Then will leave via A dormitory in less than 60 seconds.”

Clemson and the pharmaceutical company which provided the vaccines  — Lederle Laboratories (a subsidiary of American Cyanimid) — made a short film called “A Challenge Met” to demonstrate a successful mass immunization program for other colleges. The film was preserved with a National Film Preservation Foundation grant in 2004.  It is available in Cooper Library.

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Photos from the Clemson University Archives.