The Day Elvis Helped Fight Polio

By Karen Harris
Elvis Presley receiving a polio vaccination from Dr. Leona Baumgartner and Dr. Harold Fuerst at CBS Studio 50 in New York City. Source: (Photo by Seymour Wally/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)

Never underestimate the persuasive power of celebrities to advance a cause. Actress Jenny McCarthy, who has no medical or science degree, has spent the last 10 years claiming that there is a strong link between vaccines and autism. This claim has been disproven again and again, yet so many people listen to McCarthy's opinion because of her star power, not her medical background. Years before McCarthy was born, however, researchers tapped the tremendous star power of the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, to promote vaccines, particularly to teens and young adults. And it worked. This is how, on this day in 1956, the King helped to combat polio.