Disease and death surrounded them, yet some Americans declared they would never get vaccinated. Anti-vax groups spread propaganda about the terrible side effects and loss of civil liberties.

For the record, that was not a reference to last week, but the time span between 1898 and 1903 and the disease was smallpox.

Just look how far we have come in eradicating that horrible disease.

As smallpox ravaged the country, squads of men would enter people’s homes in the middle of the night to inject people with the smallpox vaccine.

During the Revolutionary War, George Washington immunized his troops against smallpox, even if it was against their will.

In 1905, Henning Jacobson defied a city ordinance requiring smallpox vaccinations during an outbreak.

His case made it all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Jacobson claimed he was a law-abiding citizen, and even if he caught smallpox, that the only possible victims would be others who “failed or refused to get vaccinated.”

Such a thoughtful guy would have made a great neighbor.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1905 that government mandates concerning vaccines are constitutional.

During World War II, the United States made vaccinations mandatory for diseases such as Typhoid, Yellow Fever and Tetanus.

The outbreak of Measles was once responsible for approximately 500 deaths annually before a successful vaccine was developed in 1963. After schools began to mandate measles shots for students, the number of cases and deaths dropped dramatically.

Of course, back then, we did not have such blatant displays of anti-vax rhetoric and our parents were more concerned with keeping us safe than political posturing.

It is frightening to think that we could have all died as children from Measles had someone with a big political hammer fought the vaccine mandate.

Currently, approximately 80 million adults remain unvaccinated against the coronavirus. This is partly due to people buying into some ridiculous political double speak.

First is the one about not knowing what is in it. We know more about the ingredients in this vaccine than any other that has been developed due to the scrutiny of the process.

I am going to go out on a limb here and say most of us have never asked a doctor what is in that flu or any other vaccine we have received.

As far as ingredients, take a moment and read the label on some of the products you have in your pantry.

Next is the unknown side effects of the vaccine. That logic will not hold up either.

People who smoke are warned every time they purchase a package of cigarettes in big letters that they are dangerous to their health. But they throw down their hard-earned money anyway. Maybe the medical professionals should have tried reverse psychology and told them the vaccine was hazardous to their health.

The final argument is about lack of trust in the vaccine.

That one is laughable when you consider that some folks are ingesting the medicine Ivermectin to prevent COVID. Ivermectin is a drug used to treat horses in order to kill parasites.

The instances of people being hospitalized after self-medicating with Ivermectin has become so frequent that doctors have issued warnings for people to avoid doing this.

Yes, the drug is effective in treating horses but trusting that it would be safe for humans explains more than enough about such illogical behavior.

The vax versus the anti-vax is back in the ring fighting harder than ever after President Biden announced his vaccine requirements that could affect 100 million people.

Biden has ordered those businesses with 100 or more employees ensure that all workers are either vaccinated or get tested weekly for the coronavirus with paid time off to get their shot.

Healthcare workers who are employed at facilities which receive funds from Medicare and Medicaid are also subject to the new rules.

Biden has stirred up a hornet’s nest. Some governors are vowing to fight the mandates in court. I guess we will get to witness whether the new court upholds the beliefs of the courts of our founding fathers on this issue.

I understand that we, as Americans, take pride that we live in a free country. And that we do not like being told what to do.

Yet, we get in our cars, which have required license plates with our required drivers’ licenses and drive down streets that are full of government required traffic regulations with our required seat belts on. All done for our protection.

The irrefutable truth is that all major infectious diseases in this country, including measles, mumps, rubella, pertussis, diphtheria and more have had minimal effects on our daily lives thanks to vaccine mandates.

Vaccine mandates may not be popular, but history proves they are effective.

Anita McGill is a former publisher of The Sentinel. She can be reached by email at anitamcgill99@gmail.com.

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