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Smallpox and vaccination in the 19th century

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During the 19th century, medicine and technology were two things very far behind what they are today. There were no guidelines on how to treat patients, and epidemics arose due to the poor standards of living. Therefore, when smallpox broke out, there were many reactions to the incredible strength and potency of the terrible disease. Vaccination was a highly controversial topic, and it was debated fervently by society as a whole.

[...] What was most important about the views being stated seem to be the government's attempted involvement into solving the problem of epidemic and outbreak. While many believed that smallpox was dangerous in and of itself, many also held the belief that vaccination was no answer to their problems. Since vaccination was not always done properly, there was some cause for concern. There were many instances where vaccination did indeed do more harm than good. According to many statistics during the time period, there were more outbreaks in countries that depended on vaccinations as opposed to those that were highly against it. [...]


[...] However, vaccination was not the only attempt made to get the disease under control. According to the Proposed New Health Law, written about in the New York Times, various efforts were made to ensure that people were in the right hands. According to this law, Superintendent and Deputies must be graduates of Medical Colleges; they are to perform the duties of City Inspector and Health Warden respectively, and moreover inspect and report all nuisances affecting the public health,? to vaccinate all persons who require vaccination in house in which cases of smallpox shall exist, and if necessary place such houses in quarantine? (New York Times 5). [...]

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