Definition of Sabin vaccine

Reviewed on 3/29/2021

Sabin vaccine: The oral polio vaccine developed by Dr. Albert S. Sabin.

The first vaccine against poliomyelitis was introduced by Dr. Jonas Salk in 1955 and was administered by injection (in 4 separate shots). The oral vaccine was created by Dr. Sabin the next year (in 1956) and is in standard use today because it is easier to administer and, importantly, it is more effective than the Salk vaccine. The Salk vaccine is now merely of historic interest.

There was more than a little rivalry between Drs. Salk and Sabin. Although Sabin's vaccine prevailed, Salk's name became better known, in part because of the publicity he received for being first and also because of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California that was founded by the National Foundation/March of Dimes and named for him.

A physician, Sabin (1906-1993) was born in Bialystok, Russia, came to the U.S. in 1921, and for many years was on the faculty at the University of Cincinnati.


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