"We Were There" - Polio

Conquering Polio in America: The Cutter Incident and Beyond

Image of We Were There logo with title of lecture.

On Wednesday, January 25th the “We Were There” lecture series presented “Conquering Polio in America: The Cutter Incident and Beyond,” at the Roybal Campus, Alexander D. Langmuir Auditorium.

In 1955, some batches of polio vaccine given to the public contained live polio virus, even though they had passed required safety testing. Over 250 cases of polio were attributed to vaccines produced by one company: Cutter Laboratories. This case, which came to be known as the Cutter Incident, resulted in many cases of paralysis. The vaccine was recalled as soon as cases of polio were detected.

The Cutter Incident was a defining moment in the history of vaccine manufacturing and government oversight of vaccines, and led to the creation of a better system of regulating vaccines. After the government improved this process and increased oversight, polio vaccinations resumed in the fall of 1955.

Joining us for this special presentation were Neal Nathanson, MD, Alan Hinman, MD, MPH, and Walter Orenstein, MD as they discussed polio vaccine past, present and future.

Smaller version of the We Were There levture series poster.
  • SPEAKER BIOS – Biographies for the 3 speakers featured during the “We Were There” lecture, “Conquering Polio in America: The Cutter Incident and Beyond”


  • EVENT POSTERimage icon – Poster signed by the 3 speakers: Neal Nathanson, MD, Alan R. Hinman, MD, MPH and Walter A. Orenstein, MD.

Page last reviewed: October 11, 2017
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