Benjamin Franklin and Vaccines

Benjamin Franklin has a long list of contributions to science and medicine, from bifocals to the lightning rod.

He didn’t invent a vaccine though.

So what’s his connection to vaccines?

His son Francis Folger Franklin died of smallpox when he was just four years old.

He hadn’t been inoculated against smallpox yet.

Benjamin Franklin later wrote in his autobiography that:

In 1736 I lost one of my sons, a fine boy of four years old, by the small-pox, taken in the common way. I 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.

Like Roald Dahl‘s letter following the death of his daughter from measles, it is a good reminder to get your kids vaccinated and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases.

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