Lessons from Smallpox Vaccination
23 Pages Posted: 28 Mar 2010 Last revised: 6 Apr 2010
Date Written: March 11, 2010
What lessons can we learn from the history in regards to smallpox vaccination? Can public health authorities force the public into vaccination compliance, or is compliance a function of fear of the disease itself? To help answer these questions, this paper looks at three historical sites: Milwaukee in 1894, where attempts to force vaccination resulted in riots in the streets; Boston beginning in 1901, where individual resistance led to a pivotal court case; and New York City in 1946, where a relatively small outbreak led to voluntary mass vaccination of the citizenry.
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