How 18th Century Boston Countered Vaccine Hesitancy

Lessons learned from a bygone time

Eric Weiner
9 min readSep 20, 2021

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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…

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Eric Weiner

Philosophical Traveler. Recovering Malcontent. Author of five books. My latest,:"BEN & ME: In Search of a Founder's Formula for a Long and Useful Life."