Journal Article - Journal of Applied History

To Boldly Remember Where We Have Already Been

| 2020

Revisiting the Cutter Polio Vaccine Incident during Operation Warp Speed


This article revisits the Cutter Incident in the United States in April 1955 when mass-produced doses of polio vaccine containing insufficiently inactivated (killed) live polio virus were released to the U.S. public. The Cutter Incident also affected subsequent vaccine development and these lessons remain relevant in the international quest to create a rapidly developed vaccine for COVID-19. The Cutter Incident shows how things can go wrong when a vaccine is manufactured in haste and without adequate safety precautions during mass-production. In the article's later section, liability without fault, among other consequences resulting from the incident, are also assessed in the context of current vaccine development through Operation Warp Speed, the public-private partnership funded by the U.S. government to develop a remedy for COVID-19.

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For Academic Citation: Moir, Nathaniel L. To Boldly Remember Where We Have Already Been.” Journal of Applied History, (2020):

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