Paul and Elmerina Parkman: Weedsport Alumni Who Changed the World

Cassie Stanfield


Alexandra Lajo Leonardi, Staff Member

Dr. Paul Parkman isolated the rubella (German measles ) virus and, with Harry Martin Meyer (1928–2001), co-discovered the first widely applicable test for rubella antibodies and the vaccine against rubella. He also happens to be a Weedsport alumnus. You might have seen his plaque in the Weedsport Hall of Fame located near the auditorium. Dr. Parkman was so eager to get as many children and people vaccinated as soon as possible, that he decided not to collect royalties for his life-saving work. Unfortunately, this vaccine has become well-known for the wrong reasons in today’s society, as more parents are refusing to vaccinate their children over unfounded fears of the side effects of the vaccination. Due to the decisions of these parents, there has been an outbreak of measles in the United States.

In this video from The Johnny Green’s Alexandra Lajo Leonardi, Dr. Parkman and his wife Elmerina (also a Weedsport alumnae – and in fact the valedictorian of their graduating class) share their high school story, some words of wisdom, and the process that Dr. Parkman took to isolate and create the Rubella-Mumps-Measles vaccine.