Americans have forgotten what it was like to live in the United States before vaccines. One case in point is polio. Whereas this disease did not kill a large number of people such as was the case with tuberculosis or influenza, it left a certain percentage of those afflicted permanently disabled, and these tended to be young individuals; often children. Thanks to the polio vaccine, Americans today do not have to live with the fear parents experienced in communities afflicted by polio. Among those infected by polio who became disabled, some required a permanent aid to breathing called the iron lung. Only a few survivors of that era that still use iron lungs remain today. The video below features the story of one of these survivors, Paul Alexander.
Even though world polio cases are at an all-time low, there are still some countries in the world where continuous person to person transmission keeps taking place, and they can serve as a repository for the disease to make a comeback if vaccination were allowed to lapse.