Typhoid Mary and Henning Jacobson prove that the Anti-Vaxxers are Wrong.

There are still a bunch of people (mostly Republicans) who seem to think that the government cannot mandate the use of masks or that people be vaccinated. They are (of course) wrong on both counts. Let’s disprove that theory with just two examples:

Typhoid Mary

Mary Mallon, better known as “Typhoid Mary,” was an Irish cook who eventually came to the United States, where she infected as many as 53 people with typhoid fever while being an asymptomatic carrier of the disease. 

Because she had no symptoms, it took public health authorities in New York quite some time to find her. In fact, it took public health authorities about seven years before they had conclusively identified her as the source of the typhoid infections. She was subsequently quarantined:

  1. From 1907 through 1910, until she agreed to stop working as a cook (which agreement she breached in 1915).
  2. From 1915 until her death in 1938, during which time she was held at North Brother Island, one of a pair of small islands located in New York City’s East River, and which was once the site of the Riverside Hospital for quarantinable diseases (but is now uninhabited).

So, if you’re counting, that is 26 years that Mary Mallon was held in confinement. That is what can happen to you when you’re the asymptomatic carrier of a deadly disease. That is the power that public health officials actually have.

Jacobson v. Massachusetts

In 1905, the Supreme Court of the United States decided a case named Jacobson v. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11 (1905). Massachusetts had a compulsory vaccination law that empowered the Board of Health of a city or town to enforce mandatory, free vaccinations.  In 1902, faced with an outbreak of smallpox, the Board of Health of the city of Cambridge,  adopted a regulation ordering the vaccination of all its inhabitants. Cambridge pastor Henning Jacobson, who had lived through an era of mandatory vaccinations in his native Sweden, refused to comply  because Jacobson’s childhood vaccination had gone badly. However, the Court held that mandatory vaccinations are neither arbitrary nor oppressive so long as they do not “go so far beyond what was reasonably required for the safety of the public.”

And there it is.

Vaccines can be required if they are reasonably required for the safety of the public.

And the Covid vaccine is reasonably required for the safety of the public.

There are (of course) plenty of law enforcement, medical, educational and other personnel who haven’t complied with vaccine requirements at the risk of their own jobs. But they are just plain wrong. This is necessary for the public health; there have been approximately 422 million doses administered in the United States and there have been no major problems; it’s time to stop complaining and just comply with the requirements of public health.

About a1skeptic

A disturbed citizen and skeptic. I should stop reading the newspaper. Or watching TV. I should turn off NPR and disconnect from the Internet. We’d all be better off.
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