How 18th Century Boston Countered Vaccine Hesitancy

Lessons learned from a bygone time

An artist’s satirical depiction of Dr. Edward Jenner administering smallpox vaccines

A deadly pathogen. Life upended. The economy crippled. Schools shuttered. A miracle vaccine developed but widespread mistrust of it. A populace divided. Voices raised. Violence threatened.

The year is not 2021 but 1721. The place is the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Vaccine hesitancy is not new…