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The story of how three women in Michigan found the vaccine for whooping cough

portrait pictures of dr. kendrick and dr. Eldering
Courtesy of the Michigan History Center
Archives of Michigan
Dr. Pearl Kendrick and Dr. Grace Eldering developed the first successful vaccine for whooping cough.

Parents and students are getting ready for school to start next week. That can mean last-minute shopping trips for supplies and clothes, and perhaps a doctor’s appointment to get those vaccines up to date before the school year starts.

Back in the 1930s, pertussis, better known as whooping cough, caused 6,000 deaths a year in the United States. Ninety-five percent of the people who died were children ages five and under.

It was three women in Michigan who helped change those grim statistics.

Mark Harvey of the Michigan History Center joined Stateside today to tell their story.

“These were women that were concerned about people’s health, children’s health, and worked tirelessly to figure out a way to safely protect them from things like whooping cough,” Harvey said.

Listen above. 

This segment is produced in partnership with theMichigan History Center.

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