TIRR Memorial Hermann’s roots go back to the 1950s when the polio epidemic was at its height in the United States. The hospital was originally founded as one of the first polio treatment centers in the nation. With the discovery of the polio vaccine in 1955, the expertise developed by this nationally recognized respiratory center was applied to the rehabilitation of catastrophically injured patients.
Fast forward about 70 years. A new epidemic, COVID-19, is affecting individuals around the world. The specialists at TIRR Memorial Hermann recognized the importance of ensuring the people who survived polio would be able to receive the new COVID-19 vaccine.
When the vaccine was announced, TIRR staff immediately went to work setting up a vaccine clinic so that TIRR’s most vulnerable patients with disabilities and chronic medical conditions, including polio patients, could receive the immunization.
"Because of polio, many of these individuals have developed chronic medical conditions that include respiratory or breathing problems," said Dr. Gerard Francisco, chairman and professor, McGovern Medical School at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, The Wulfe Family Chair of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and chief medical officer of TIRR Memorial Hermann and director of the Neuro Recovery Research Center. "We are so fortunate that now we have an opportunity to give these patients something that they missed back in the 1950s…a vaccine.”
For the 31st consecutive year, TIRR Memorial Hermann is recognized as the best rehabilitation hospital in Texas and No. 3 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report's "Best Rehabilitation Hospitals" in America.Learn More