child_vaccinationHarold Martin, of 315 William Street, was very very angry. He had just sat down to breakfast and opened the newspaper.

There, in June 1906, Harold read Dr Harvey Astles sneering at opponents of vaccination as being misinformed at best and positively dangerous at worst.

Well, Harold was one of those opponents of vaccination. He believed it was a “pernicious, disgusting foolery”. Oh, it was also a “cruel, filthy, unnatural heathenish operation”.

He wasn’t a doctor like Harvey, but Harold knew that vaccination was dangerous. All he needed was a proper diet, good habits, pure air, and abstinence from all kinds of medicine.

Warming to his theme, Harold warned that vaccination did not stop smallpox, it was actually the cause of that disease. Dr Astles was responsible for spreading disease, and he was the one who called himself a medical man.

Further, Harold wanted a law passed making vaccination a criminal offence. He called on the society for the prevention of cruelty to children to save the poor helpless little mites, who will all suffer and die if doctors are allowed to inoculate them.

In conclusion, we would all be better off if every physician, surgeon, midwife, chemist, and drug were wiped from the face of the Earth.

So what does this story teach us? That vaccination sceptics have been around since inoculation was invented. And they were no less stupid then than now.

h/t Museum of Perth