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Santa Stash 2017

Vaccine Opposition Throughout History

Associated Press - February 14, 2015 6:14 am

They’re considered one of mankind’s greatest medical achievements, yet people have balked at vaccines almost since the time of the first vaccination.

In the 1800s, people protested in the streets of Victorian England after the British government began requiring citizens to get the first vaccination — against smallpox.

Many opponents mistrusted doctors and were wary of a medical treatment they didn’t understand.

More than a century and a half later, there’s still an undercurrent of vaccine dislike and distrust in the United States. That’s illustrated by the measles outbreak that started in December at Disneyland. Many of those who got and spread the illness hadn’t gotten the childhood shots.

Overall, vaccination rates for kindergarteners have held steady. But increasing numbers of families have refused vaccination in certain communities.

Guillermo F. Perez-Argüello

February 15, 2015 at 3:40 pm

There was opposition to vaccines even in the 1950’s. In fact, recently, someone asked the question of who’d helped save the most money in the US healthcare industry in the last century. The answer – surprisingly – was Elvis Presley. On October 28, 1956, Elvis got a polio vaccination on national TV. That event was responsible for lessening people’s and public opinion’s fears about the Jonas Salk’s vaccine’s three previous and failed tries, in 1954, 1955 and early 1956, thereby raising immunization levels in the US from 0.6% to over 80% in just 6 months. No other single individual has had that kind of impact on healthcare in the US. (Source NEXUS, a Dimension Data Company’s laud of Presley’s influence on the eradication of polio, as published in their online page in an article entitled “U.S. Healthcare Needs Another Elvis” on February 6, 2015). And we certainly need one as big as him, in terms of lessening people’s fears, right now…

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