Printed in “Editorial”

Vaccination or Smallpox?

IN Public Health Reports, March Io, 1911, Passed Asst. Surg. Victor G. Heiser, chief quarantine officer and director of health for the Philippine Islands, gives an official report on “Smallpox and Vaccination in the Philippine Islands,” which should be food for thought for all persons who prefer fact to fancy and reason to opinion.

Much has been said to the effect that vaccination does not protect against smallpox, and that it is followed by frightful results. As to whether vaccination protects against smallpox, this report certainly gives very convincing testimony: —

“Since completing, in 19o7, the systematic vaccination of the six provinces near Manila, which have an approximate population of one million, and which from time immemorial had an annual average mortality from smallpox of at least 6,000 persons, not one person has died of smallpox who had been successfully vaccinated, and only a few scattering cases have occurred. During the past two years some deaths have been reported, but careful investigation shows that not one death took place in a vaccinated person.

“In May, 1904, the United States army transport ‘Liscum’ left Manila with 26 cabin passengers, 170 steerage passengers, 16 officers, and 8o members of crew, or a total of 292 persons on board. During the first week smallpox broke out aboard the vessel in an unvaccinated child in the steerage. An examination of the personnel on board showed that three members had never been vaccinated. Within a period of two weeks these unvaccinated persons were stricken with the disease, and not one of the 289 remaining persons contracted it.

“During October, 191o, information was received that in the remote town of Baler, with a population of 2,417, situated on the east coast of Luzon, smallpox had broken out among the unvaccinated children. There were 100 cases, and 27 persons had already died. An average of 35 new cases was occurring daily. Through the efforts of the Hon. Manuel Quezon, delegate from the Philippine Islands to the Congress of the United States, the people were induced to submit to vaccination. The number of new infections decreased rapidly, and fourteen days after the last person in that town had been vaccinated, about October 20, no further cases of smallpox occurred.”

There is a lady physician, Dr. Mary, whom we all admire for her courage, yet we can not help smiling at her freakishness. The estimable lady who has always insisted on wearing trousers, has recently given the harem skirt her unequivocal endorsement, and has started a campaign against vaccination, asserting that the use of onions is a better preventive of smallpox than vaccination.

If her assertion is so, it would indicate that the smallpox germs have a keen sense of what is “correct ” in the way of odor. If onions are not handy, one might try asafetida.