60 years of Vaccinations


The first prototype vaccinations for smallpox are believed to have occurred in the 16th century but the first vaccine is attributed to Edward Jenner, an English physician in 1796.  The 60 years in the title refers to my own history of vaccination.  They eradicated smallpox in 1972 but I still have the mark from my inoculation.  Can you imagine how brave the first people to accept the smallpox vaccination were or was the sight of death enough for acceptance?  I was provoked to write the post on finding out that people have not been showing up to their vaccination appointments in Texas.  It’s the only free healthcare I have ever received in the USA!  I was so relieved to receive the 2nd vaccination last week – just two weeks until full inoculation.

As a baby boomer, vaccinations have readily accepted by me because most of us saw what happened when you didn’t get inoculated.  Childhood deaths from illnesses that most of us have forgotten were common.  The ravages of Polio were there for all to see in the survivors – limps and calipers or an iron lung.  Teddy had Scarlet Fever twice; his adoptive mum feared for his much longed for life.  She and my mum had their own battle with Tuberculosis or consumption.  My mum was sent to relatives in the country and my mum in law spent months in hospital.  Newly adopted Teddy’s Granny had to look after him while she was in the sanitarium.  It was a strange blessing as they bonded in a special way.  I think he was always her favorite. My mum and I were unable to return back to the USA in 1967 because my mum was diagnosed with TB for the third time.  This time they had an antibiotic treatment – streptomycin – and she fully recovered but mentally collapsed with the end of her American dream.

Vaccination has become a taboo subject in recent times with the much-refuted claim that a particular vaccine can cause autism in children.  Perhaps seeing death and illness in your every day life made it easier for our parents to allow vaccination in previous decades.  I can’t claim to know much about autism but I am certain that it was underdiagnosed in previous years.  Every area in Scotland had a special school where children with mental and physical disabilities were lumped together for what was often a sub-standard education.  It was a necessity when I was a child because at our little Catholic Primary School, we had two full classes of Primary 1 and there were 40 kids in each class.  No teacher would be able to cope with special needs children in addition.  I can still remember a little boy, called Andrew, who undoubtedly had ADD or something similar – that diagnosis was not used then.  We could tell that he couldn’t help himself but it was so upsetting when he disturbed our learning cycle.  The teacher had the patience of a saint.


Vaccinations were staggered as they are today and the last, I recall at school, was for TB when we were about 13 years old.  Both Teddy and I tested positive that indicated that we had TB or the antibodies – both of us had been vaccinated earlier than usual because our mum’s had TB.  Years passed, Teddy and Bunny married and had our honeymoon in Peterhead to meet my new relatives…  A couple of years later we booked a caravan holiday to south of France.  Unbelievably, there was a typhoid outbreak in La Sud and we had to get new vaccinations just before our trip.  We were vaccinated on our bums but then had a 24-hour bus trip to our destination – oh how we ached!

As our vacations got more exotic, so did the vaccinations.  Teddy had to get the Yellow Fever vaccine for a work trip to Africa.  In between all that you kept up with your tetanus vaccinations, especially if you lived in an agricultural area like we did.  Then we moved to Egypt in 2002 and I felt like a pin cushion.  Most of the childhood vaccines had to be repeated as illness such as polio are still endemic in third world countries.  We also had rabies vaccines which I am not sure were entirely necessary but it gave me free rein to work with street animals so another blessing, perhaps.  A tiny kitten nearly killed me with septicemia from a bite, so I guess death is always lurking around the corner in one form or another.  The only thing we didn’t have to worry about in Egypt was terrorist attacks!  You had to be careful on boats in the Nile in case you got Nile water splashed in your mouth.  Bilharzia is a very common disease; my Egyptian friend’s Dad was dying of liver failure caused by Bilharzia, a parasite you can ingest when drink untreated Nile water.


So, we reach 2021 and by some miracle scientists were able to create a vaccine at Warp Speed.  There hasn’t been much time for trial but it is a global pandemic of unimaginable scale.  Almost 3 million people worldwide have died of Covid-19 but the true number is probably much higher.  Herd immunity is a long way off, so turn up for your vaccine appointment!  My eyes have gone square from looking at the TV and Internet too much during this weird time but I loved this funny video that I found some months ago.  Yes, cat fur and hot dog water sounds just fine to me…

33 thoughts on “60 years of Vaccinations

  1. You are likely among a very select group of people who have all their vaccination records, Kerry. Very impressive! Just an FYI–your vaccines in 2002/2003 were against polio, rabies, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and meningitis, and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, now I can guess what field of work you are in, Tanja! Thank you for the information – the vaccination process/moving to Egypt was an overwhelming blur of events.
      My mum was not a hoarder but she did keep the vaccination records as we were moving from America to Spain, Scotland and hopefully back again (which didn’t work out). I just followed her example and kept everything – Teddy didn’t know that I had all his baby vaccination cards too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, I am impressed, you still have all your vaccine records? 🙂 Yes, there hasn’t been much time for trial with the new COVID vaccines and I can easily understand people who are not keen on getting them. Vaccines are the most effective way to prevent infectious diseases, so hopefully pandemic crisis are going to be a distant memory soon. I’ve got my first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, just waiting for the second one now. Thanks for sharing and have a good day. I hope you had a lovely Easter, my friend. Aiva 🙂 xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you have received the first dose, Aiva! I started traveling internationally when I was 18 months old – we moved to Formentera then Scotland. That’s why I have kept all the records – it became increasingly important when moving from one healthcare system to another. To be honest, I NEVER thought I would see a true pandemic!!! Our Easter was fun and I hope yours was too. K x


  3. Wow that’s a lot of vaccines! You should be bulletproof by now right? lol I totally support being vaccinated and am very glad we don’t have to worry about things like Polio and Smallpox anymore. I was surprised to learn there was a chicken pox vaccine (after I had my son) since I had to suffer through that as a child. But glad my son won’t have to deal with that awfulness!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Good post Kerry. Remind me again how things were so much better in the good old days. Medical advances in recent times have more or less eradicated premature death through illness, in the developed world at least. As for the anti-vaxxers, you have the freedom of choice but then don’t whine when you don’t get the benefits accruing to those who are vaccinated. Love the vid 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Roy. Life has changed at ‘warp speed’ since we were kids! Remember the Jetsons? I am not sure there was anything good about the pandemic other than making us all slow down and reassess what is important in life.


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