It was 1776 and the Revolutionary War of the colonies against the British Army was not going well. In the Continental Army led by George Washington, fatal infectious diseases were rampant. For every troop killed by British bullets and bayonets, ten of Washington’s troops died from infections; most of them smallpox. British troops arrived from England immune to smallpox either from inoculation or natural infection; but not so with Continental Army troops.
Washington had to do something. So, on February 5, 1777 General Washington ordered that all troops be inoculated against smallpox. It was the first mass inoculation against an infectious viral disease in what was to become the United States. These mass inoculations were then applied to the entire American population along with the practice of quarantine. With his troops and the public healthy again, the American troops prevailed against the British and a new and free nation was created.
It was 2021 and the war against the deadly viral disease Covid 19 was not going well. More Americans, 650,000, had died of the infection than died in the American Revolutionary War, American Civil War, World War I, and World War II combined. No end was in sight. The nation was, again, in great peril. In order to defeat this enemy, free elective vaccinations were made available to the public and mandatory mass vaccinations (inoculations) were ordered by the government for medical personnel caring for that ravaged population. And, the response of much of the public and many of those in the revered medical profession itself was to refuse life-saving vaccinations.
Two hundred and forty five years after its founding in a nation that vaccinations helped create and sustain and that is the public response when called to duty? Really? That’s how the story ends? That’s how many of the soldiers in the army of medical professionals respond? Really?
Hippocrates, where are you when we need you?
David Lenderts, M.D.