Die Impfaktion gegen Poliomyelitis in der DDR im Jahr 1960 am Beispiel der Stadt Halle (Saale): Historische Erfahrungen und Probleme

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleContributedpeer-review



In the 1950s, the epidemic occurrence of infantile paralysis (poliomyelitis) posed major challenges to health systems worldwide. Since there was no causal therapy for the viral disease, exposure prophylaxis was of particular importance. Ultimately, it was only through the development of vaccines that infantile paralysis could be permanently reduced. In 1960, the Sabin-Tschumakow oral vaccine was administered in the former German Democratic Republic GDR for the first time in Germany. Within one year, this vaccine succeeded in almost completely eradicating polio in the GDR. The article uses unpublished archival material to trace the systematic vaccination campaign using the example of the then district capital Halle (Saale). There alone, 63,328 children and adolescents were immunized within three days in May 1960. With 78,085 vaccinees recorded in advance, this corresponded to a rate within the polio-vulnerable population group of around 81%. The sources show that the GDR's government healthcare system and the principle of outreach vaccination contributed to the success of the vaccination campaign.

Translated title of the contribution
The 1960 poliomyelitis vaccination campaign in the GDR using the example of the city of Halle (Saale)
historical experiences and problems


Original languageGerman
Pages (from-to)718-724
Number of pages7
JournalBundesgesundheitsblatt, Gesundheitsforschung, Gesundheitsschutz
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022

External IDs

PubMedCentral PMC9109446
Scopus 85130269102
unpaywall 10.1007/s00103-022-03538-7
WOS 000796301000001
Mendeley e0463329-2c9d-3cc1-bdf3-ddb3bc28530b
ORCID /0000-0001-6269-5061/work/142247694


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Sustainable Development Goals


  • Adolescent, Child, Germany/epidemiology, Humans, Immunization Programs, Poliomyelitis/epidemiology, Poliovirus, Poliovirus Vaccine, Oral, Vaccination, German Democratic Republic, History of medicine, Poliomyelitis, Sabin vaccine, Vaccination