When I first came up with the idea of blogging about vaccination as an area of scientific controversy I perceived it to be a relatively recent occurrence. Not so, vaccination has been part of medical history since 1796 when Edward Jenner created the first vaccine for smallpox and public concerns were raised soon after. At this time the controversy was primarily based on religious grounds where religious leaders promoted the notion that such diseases were only sent to punish sinners and therefore true, pure Christians had nothing to worry about.
By the 1800’s vaccination for diseases such as smallpox was common and the incidence of the disease had dropped significantly. Based on this, The Vaccination Act of 1853 made vaccination compulsory for all children up to three months old. The act was extended to 14 years of age in 1867 with parent who did not comply facing possible imprisonment. This was the start of another area of controversy in the vaccination forum- the violation of individual rights.