“Smallpox was one of the most terrifying diseases in history. Today, however, we do not live in fear of it because smallpox no longer exists in the wild,” writes Amanda Naprawa, an attorney and a graduating master’s student in public health.
“Between 1900 and 1949, prior to routine use of the smallpox vaccine in the U.S.,” she notes, “there were approximately 29,000 cases of smallpox annually in the U.S. After the mass vaccination program, there were zero cases of wild smallpox in the United States (and the entire planet, too).”
A mother of two, Naprawa calls herself “passionate about immunization as a mother, lawyer and public health advocate.” Her post went up as the California Legislature debates Senate Bill 277, which would require almost all California school children to be fully vaccinated.
Read her account of how smallpox was eradicated — and the origins of the word “vaccine” (hint: “vacca” is Latin for cow) — on the Berkeley Wellness website.