The History of Vaccination Hesitancy from the Science Museum
Like most things, vaccines have a long history. And in that history there’s a thing medical historians call vaccine hesitancy, or a ‘delay in acceptance or refusal of vaccination despite availability of vaccination.’ It turns out there’s a long history of vaccine hesitancy. Here’s more from the UK Science Museum, where curator Imogen Clarke explores the history of vaccine hesitancy:
Historically, vaccination was much more painful than it is today, with at least four cuts made in the flesh of a person’s arm using a sharp blade or lancet. Vaccine matter would then be smeared into the cuts. The associated pain caused hesitation amongst some, though the promise of protection from deadly disease outweighed these fears for others.
Vaccination methods were also much less safe without today’s strict laboratory testing, trialling, and monitoring. Many had legitimate fears that the arm-to-arm method could spread other human illnesses, whilst others even feared it could spread mental illness.
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