Vaccinations

Recently, I was looking up quotes from A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, trying to find a passage about a sour pickle, and I didn’t find that, but I did find this one:

Before school, there had to be vaccination. That was the law. How it was dreaded! When the health authorities tried to explain to the poor and illiterate that vaccination was a giving of the harmless form of smallpox to work up immunity against the deadly form, the parents didn’t believe it. All they got out of the explanation was that germs would be put into a healthy child’s body. Some foreign-born parents refused to permit their children to be vaccinated. They were not allowed to enter school. Then the law got after them for keeping the children out of school. A free country? they asked. You should live so long. What’s free about it, they reasoned, when the law forces you to educate your children and then endangers their lives to get them into school?

Maybe these times aren’t as unprecedented as we tend to think.

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