2 thoughts on “Vaccines Then and Now

  1. While I enjoyed this episode, I was struck by your failure to mention Rev. Cotton Mather as a major popularizer of the smallpox inoculation in the colonies. I mention Mather primarily because of where his interest in inoculation had its origin. Mather learned about inoculation from one of the Africans he held enslaved. You mentioned Africans as carriers of smallpox but not as people who would have also carried medical knowledge. Considering the common image of the enslaved African as a tabula rasa, not entering the field of intelligent human affairs until the mid-nineteenth century, I think your audience would have profited by this particle of information.

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  2. Thanks victor, good point. Of course one of the themes of the program is that vaccines hadn’t yet entered intellectual rationality at the time but were cures from experience. Mine are not always complete histories, but rather the important history for contrast to some of today’s politics, in this case some of the vaccine resistance as well as to a degree, overenthusiastic medical zealousness as well. I stuck with Washington as a greater model for today than Mather, who might have been more influential in the New England region but a pariah for many as well. However, certainly for the reason you give I will get the story into a question and answer cast. Mather is useful for some of these anti-vax situations were experienced by him. My cast never ‘ends’ unlike a history book, so i can always amend or add things. THanks again.

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