“One might suppose that the popular prejudice against vaccination had died out by this time,” one writer complains. It sounds like a lament from today, but in fact, it’s from 1875. Anti-vaxxers may seem like a product of our fake-news, health-hysteria modern times, but the fear that propels these skeptics is as old as the vaccine itself. How has modern medicine not shaken generations’ worth of suspicion and fear? We go back to look at two pivotal moments – the birth of the vaccine and a 1905 Supreme Court case – to understand what still motivates the anti-vaxxers of today.
• “Jacobson v Massachusetts: It’s Not Your Great-Great-Grandfather’s Public Health Law“ – American Journal of Public Health
• “The Last Smallpox Epidemic in Boston and the Vaccination Controversy, 1901 – 1903″ – New England Journal of Medicine
• “Exposed to Smallpox: Boston Doctor Who Opposed Vaccination Now Has the Disease and Probably Will Die” – New York Times, Feb 9,1902,
• “Dr. Pfeiffer Recovering: Anti-Vaccinationist Convalescent After Smallpox, With His Views on the Disease Unchanged” – New York Times, March 10, 1902
• Music: Caspar Babypants
Be Notified of New Episodes