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Vaccine Mandates, Pandemics and War

By Dr. George Voigtlander

It was 1775, George Washington and the Continental Army were in a war of attrition with the mightiest military force in the world, the British Empire.  Washington knew he had to take bold steps to win this war.

At this time smallpox was a lethal disease, killing both Continental and British soldiers.  Smallpox vaccination was crude and had a high rate of adverse effects including death.  General Washington weighed the risks and benefits and mandated all his troops that had not had smallpox be vaccinated.  The rate of smallpox in Washington's troops dropped.

Some historians felt this tipped the odds in favor of the Continental Army.

Fast forward to 1918 and the “Spanish Influenza” also known as the Great Influenza epidemic had begun affecting what would be millions of people and was considered to be the most severe pandemics in the 20th Century.  The Spanish Flu is said to have been misnamed since it appeared to have emerged at what is now Fort Riley in Kansas. Many American, British, French and German soldiers and civilians were dying of disease, including influenza.  My grandfather, Sargent George Olemutz told me of the horrible conditions in the trenches of France.  There was frostbite, immersion foot, tuberculosis, scurvy (vitamin C deficiency), poison gas as well as influenza.  He survived the influenza virus only to later get tuberculosis but survived them both.  He also lost most of his teeth from scurvy.  Imagine the millions of lives that could have been spared if influenza vaccine was available.

In the late 1970’s there seemed to be the beginning of a new swine flu epidemic.  The Department of Defense likes vaccinations, as anyone who has been in the military can attest.  The Omaha VA (part of the DOD) mandated all civilian employees receive influenza vaccination prior to getting their paycheck.  One of the employee health nurses was stationed immediately before the pay window, wanting to get paid, I got my jab.

I attended a Catholic high school in Napa, California where like many parochial school's conditions are often crowded.  To slow the spread of influenza every year all students, except those with a true egg allergy were immunized.  Hospitals and other health facilities have already mandated the flu vaccine to all their employees since 2005.  Vaccine mandates are not new and have been put in place for centuries in an attempt to help and protect people from deadly diseases.  The COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines are no different from the pandemics and mandated vaccines just as history tells us.  Let’s join together and beat this virus by getting ourselves and encouraging friends and family to get theirs too.