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Candy Land and Vaccines

It is no fun having a vaccine-preventable disease.

Believe me, I still remember having a bad case of chicken pox when I was a kid.

So how is the board game Candy Land associated with vaccines?

Eleanor Abbot designed Candy Land for kids recovering from polio in 1948.  It was played on the hospital wards and eventually became a best selling game for Milton Bradley.

“In the earliest versions of the game, the little boy on the board appears to have a leg brace, a detail that disappeared in subsequent printings. The phantom leg brace recalls the painful truth of polio’s crippling effects. The paralysis and physical debility of polio form an implicit contrast to the happy and carefree cavorting of the two children on the board, skip- ping their way through candy land. The representation of candy is a sweet if imaginary recompense for physical suffering. The depiction of play in the land of candy promises the fantasy of escape from the pain, tedium, boredom, and loneliness of rehabilitation in a special medical setting.”

The first polio vaccine was licensed in 1953 by Jonas Salk.

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