Vaccinations have been a triumph of modern medicine and public health. Across the globe they have reduced rates of infant mortality and contributed to increasing life expectancy. Why, then, in the 21st century would there be a significant backlash against vaccinations, even as measles and polio have re-appeared in places where they had been eradicated? This month, historian Jim Harris examines the deep roots of the anti-vaxxer movement and shows that for almost as long as there have been vaccines there have been people who oppose them.

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