In 1910, as smallpox outbreaks continued and anti-vaccine folks made it harder to get folks vaccinated, he wrote:
“I would like to issue a Mount-Carmel-like challenge to any ten unvaccinated priests of Baal. I will go into the next severe epidemic with ten selected, vaccinated persons and ten selected unvaccinated persons – I should prefer to choose the latter – three members of Parliament, three anti-vaccination doctors (if they can be found), and four anti-vaccination propagandists.
And I will make this promise – neither to jeer nor jibe when they catch the disease, but to look after them as brothers, and for the four or five who are certain to die, I will try to arrange the funerals with all the pomp and ceremony of an anti-vaccination demonstration.”
Routine vaccination with smallpox vaccines ended in the US in 1972, a short time before smallpox was declared eradicated (1980).
It was also before the last case of wild smallpox was found (1977).
Because smallpox had been declared eliminated in North America long before (1952), following the last natural outbreak of smallpox in the United States (1949).
Should I Be Worried That My Kids Didn’t Get the Smallpox Vaccine?
Although smallpox has been eradicated, some folks still worry about it.
“There are now only two locations where variola virus is officially stored and handled under WHO supervision: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia, and the State Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology (VECTOR Institute) in Koltsovo, Russia.”
CDC on History of Smallpox
Of course, the concern now is not naturally occurring smallpox, but instead bioterrorism.
Could the smallpox virus be made into a weapon to be used in a bioterrorist attack?
We hope not, but if it was, none of us would be immune, not even the folks who were vaccinated long ago. The smallpox vaccine doesn’t provide life-long immunity.
So should you be worried?
“Some people have been vaccinated through the military or because they were part of Smallpox Response Teams that were formed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.”
CDC on Why is Smallpox a Concern?
Almost certainly not.
Plans are in place if there ever was a smallpox attack and if necessary, there is actually enough smallpox vaccine stockpiled to vaccinate everyone in the United States!
After a 4-month-old died of bacterial meningitis, anti-vaccine folks pushed the idea that it was a vaccine injury instead of an infection.
And they push their views that everything is a vaccine injury on everyone, even though most folks understand that vaccines are not associated with SIDS, shaken baby syndrome, autism, and most other things.
Sure, everyone and everything in anti-vaccine world is the very best, except if they are, then why are they trying so hard to convince you of that… So maybe you will agree with some of their more far-out claims, suggestions, and conspiracy theories?
Do you think it is okay to put infants who are too young to be vaccinated at risk for measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases because you don’t like the choices you have been given between getting your kids vaccinated and protected or keeping them out of school?
What about the parents of the kid who is being treated for cancer who gets exposed to chicken pox because someone else made the choice to not vaccinate their kid? Do you think that’s fair?
The modern anti-vaccine movement is only about choice when it is about their choices and doesn’t seem to care about the risks their unvaccinated kids pose to others.
Believe it or not, the modern anti-vaccine movement also equates getting vaccinated with rape…
Don’t believe me?
Do you agree?
What else do most folks in the modern anti-vaccine movement believe?
They believe that:
vaccines don’t work, but are somehow still able to cause shedding for long periods of time
Do you have a scar on your arm and you aren’t sure why it is there?
Is it from the smallpox vaccine?
Recognizing Old Vaccine Scars
Classically, there are two vaccines that can leave a scar – the ones that protect us against smallpox and tuberculosis.
“BCG scar is a surrogate marker of vaccination and an important index in the vaccination program.”
Dhanawade et al on Scar formation and tuberculin conversion following BCG vaccination in infants: A prospective cohort study
And there are a few easy ways to tell if you have a smallpox scar.
When were you born? Remember, the smallpox vaccine hasn’t been used in the United States since the early 1970s and its use stopped everywhere in 1986.
And where were you born?
The BCG (bacille Calmette-Guerin) vaccine, on the other hand, is still in use in many countries, and is given at birth to prevent tuberculosis disease, including meningitis and disseminated tuberculosis. It isn’t routinely used in the United States though “because of the low risk of infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the variable effectiveness of the vaccine against adult pulmonary TB, and the vaccine’s potential interference with tuberculin skin test reactivity.”
In general though:
the BCG vaccine scar has a raised center
the smallpox vaccine scar is depressed, with lines that radiate to the edges
Complicating matters is the fact that you can have multiple scars from each vaccine…
“In 1972, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization in Canada recommended that routine immunization of infants for smallpox be stopped. Very few Canadians born after 1972 have been immunized against smallpox. Those, like me, who were immunized prior to that date have little or no immunity left. Nothing, but a small scar as testimony to a grand global achievement.”