Anti-vaccination sentiment is on repeat in this era of COVID-19, as misinformation about unsafe vaccines and mutated DNA is recycled from vaccination and inoculation campaigns that date back to smallpox.
Smallpox was eradicated from the population in 1979. But prior to that, it showed up in waves since its estimated arrival in about 10,000 B.C. With up to a 30 percent mortality rate, smallpox would show up on the faces of those infected and would often leave disfiguring scars.
René Najera, an epidemiologist and editor of The History of Vaccines project by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, said inoculations prior to the vaccine — whereby pus or scabs from an infected person were injected or inhaled into the body of a healthy person — weren’t widely accepted.