I found this article, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Vaccines, today while thumbing through the Tuesday “Science Times” on the history of vaccination especially as it relates to the founders of the United States. Many conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccine groups will invoke the names and quotes of the founders of the US to justify their message of “freedom from vaccines.”
In fact, this notion is not only scientifically but also historically flawed. Many of the founders of the US were extremely strong supporters of inoculation, which at the time existed in a manner far less refined and safe than today. Yet despite its primitive nature, inoculations were seen as a critical measure for protecting health and represented one of the first major public health initiatives in the United States.
Benjamen Franklin stands out as one of the biggest promoters of inoculation. Franklin was both a politician and a scientist, who helped document the safety and effectiveness of inoculation. Franklin was personally touched by the loss of his four year old son who died of small pox having never been inoculated.
In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way, long regretted bitterly, and still regret that I had not given it to him by inoculation.
This I mention for the sake of parents who omit that operation, on the supposition that they should never forgive themselves if a child died under it, my example showing that the regret may be the same either way and that, therefore, the safer should be chosen.
I’d recommend taking Franklin’s advice. In case you didn’t know, he has a reputation for being a rather wise man.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011 at 12:39 am and is filed under Culture, Good Science, History, Quackery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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