The shot heard ‘round the world.
Wasn’t from a gun.
The American revolution was astonishing. A fledgling group of colonies, with nothing but grit and the belief in democracy, stood up to a monarchy with vast military and economic resources. The one thing that almost stopped this magnificent moment in history wasn’t a bullet, it wasn’t the English army, it was disease. 90% of Washington’s troops were lost to small pox. If he didn’t figure out something, and something quick, we would have lost the war by attrition. That was when Washington mandated the smallpox vaccination be given to everyone under his command. A vaccine saved his troops. A vaccine gave birth to America.
In 1902, when small pox reared its ugly head again, Massachusetts mandated the vaccine for all its residents. A pastor refused on the grounds it was unreasonable, arbitrary and oppressive. The Supreme Court in 1905 held up the mandate stating,
“In every well-ordered society charged with the duty of conserving the safety of its members, the rights of the individual in respect of his liberty may at times, under the pressure of great dangers, be subjected to such restraint.”
In 1922, the constitutionality of demanding childhood vaccinations was again discussed in the Supreme Court case Zucht v. King. The court ruled in favor of mandated vaccines stating that a school could deny admission to children who failed to provide proof of vaccination in order to protect public health.
In 1977, the federal government set up the Childhood Immunization Initiative, aimed at increasing vaccination rates in children. This is when all 50 states widely adopted mandatory school vaccinations.
These became routine for every child:
Sadly, the world once again faced the deadly consequences of a once eradicated illness when measles claimed over 207,000 lives worldwide by 2019. Almost 2000 children were affected here in the United States. Extremely contagious, it’s estimated 9 out of 10 unvaccinated people become infected when exposed. It is believed over 25 million deaths have been prevented by one simple and effective action- getting vaccinated.
In 1976, Gerald Ford ordered the mass vaccinations of every man, woman and child to protect against the swine flu. As a young girl, I remember standing in line for hours with my grandmother to get the shot. False and misleading data flooded the news, claiming it caused deaths and side effects. All but one was later proven to be false – Guillain Barre.
Seen annually in 3000-6000 individuals after many types of infections, it was the first time this was seen as a reaction to a vaccine. Studies showed that 1 additional person out of every million may be at risk for developing Guillain Barre syndrome after a flu, shingles, pneumococcal, or J&J COVID vaccine. A risk we all accept as reasonable to this day.
Anti vaccine sentiment started in 1997 when an article claimed they increased the risk of autism. It was completely debunked when serious procedural errors, undisclosed financial conflicts of interest and ethical violations were found. The author, Andrew Wakefield, lost his medical license and the paper has since been removed from The Lancet medical journal. But the damage was done. No matter how much it’s been proven false, the seed of doubt was planted.
Thankfully, the fears of swine flu were vastly over rated. It was never destined to hit pandemic proportions but had it done so, the mandate was set up for failure from the beginning. It was mishandled and destroyed by disinformation it couldn’t overcome. COVID is not the swine flu. It has proven its steadfast ability to infect and kill for a year and a half. Over 600,000 lives have been destroyed in the US, more than 4.5 million worldwide.
There is no cure. Ivermectin is a dewormer for animals and hydrochloroquine is for severe arthritic conditions. They will not prevent or treat COVID. But they can harm or kill those who take them for this purpose. As with every infection that has threatened humanity, herd immunity is the only way to stop its progression.
Once again, the shot heard round the world could be the determining factor.