How to Get VaccinatedOn April 28, 2021 by Elyse
By the time you read this, I expect to be shivering under a pile of blankets and sipping chicken noodle soup with a fever, chills, aches and a sore arm to boot. Happy Second Bill Gates’ Microchip Installation Day to me! I intend to celebrate in two weeks by running around and licking every doorknob I can find.
I’m extremely fortunate to have the COVID-19 vaccine and grateful to everyone who made it happen, starting with the scientists in the lab and all the way through to the pharmacist who put it in my arm. Now, I’m paying it forward.
From becoming a juvenile delinquent and breaking your lease to traveling for free and pulling off epic practical jokes, I’ve scoured the oracles of old, otherwise known as historical newspapers, to bring you only the most ridiculous advice for every situation. Now, Second Glance History is here to help you figure out how NOT to get vaccinated.
Without further ado, shots! Shots! Shots! Sorry, not the fun kind. I’m showing my age, and if you remember that song, so are you. But give me a break, I’m probably also fighting through some brain fog today.
Be a hypocrite.
It seems that the editor of the anti-vaccination journal of Montreal, having occasion to leave that city by rail, was quarantined for inspection; not wishing to be delayed, he submitted after some objection to be examined, when it was discovered that he had two finely developed pustules of vaccination on his arm, about seven days old!
This, as may be imagined, took much of the force away from his remarks in support of anti-vaccination, and has in no small degree aided in the work of getting the disease under control.– The Daily Kennebec Journal, November 5, 1885
Between unauthorized road trips, incriminating wedding photos and illicit haircuts, this kind of double standard will surprise no one living through the current pandemic. If it makes you feel any better, your least favorite politician/thought leader/TikTok influencer wasn’t the first hypocrite and won’t be the last.
Be a coward.
This story comes to us from a humor magazine and should be taken as even less historically accurate than usual:
Recently at a mass meeting of six or seven anti-vaccinationists at Boston. . . a very learned man, read a lengthy essay, which proved conclusively that all persons who had been vaccinated with genuine bovine virus [smallpox vaccine] were certain to be more or less cowardly. He asserted with great positiveness that virus from a cow, or heifer, contained the essence of cowardliness, which was even transmitted from the parents to the children; and that the ultimate result would be the complete degeneracy of the American people. . .
He pointed with pride to Julius Caesar, Napoleon and other noble heroes, who would never have amounted to a row of pins if they had had bovine matter from a cow in their systems. A new member got up at this crisis, and asked the speaker if bovine virus from a bull yearling was not calculated to make a vaccinated person bull-headed, and was told that that would be the subject of the next essay.
In that case, I know quite a few people who’ve had a bovine virus vaccine.
. . . The President of the Boston Anti-Vaccination Society was not present, and none of the members, or anybody else, for that matter, had seen him for several weeks. It was whispered among the members that he had gone back on them, that he was a Judas Arnold or a Benedict Iscariot, and had had himself vaccinated, hence his unwillingness to appear among them.
Just as the member was pounding on the desk. . . the door opened, and who should walk in but the missing President of the society? A mere glance at him was sufficient to convince the most incredulous that he had not allowed himself to be vaccinated, for his face was covered with partially healed small-pox sores. The poor man had just got over a bad attack of the dread disease.
His carved and pitted features beamed, however, with joy at once more seeing his anti-vaccination brethren. He advanced to shake hands with them, and give them his experience and perhaps the small-pox, also, but strange to say, they were no longer there.
They had wafted themselves out through the windows and side doors. The only visible indication that they had ever been there at all was the essay demonstrating that all vaccinated people had to be cowards, while the unvaccinated were incapable of fear.– From the Texas Siftings, quoted in the Dodge City Times, December 21, 1882
If all this talk about vaccines has you wishing you could inoculate yourself against cowardice, you’re in luck.
Have an accident.
Don’t try this DIY vaccination at home, kids:
The four year old son of Frederick Pyre, of Sweden Valley, has been vaccinated in a most peculiar manner. After he had fallen down stairs and removing some skin from his nose, he found a bottle left by a physician which had contained vaccine virus. The boy played with the bottle, and unconsciously communicated some of the virus to the nose, which is now covered with a perfect “vaccination sore.”– The Republican News Item, December 7, 1905
I didn’t think it was possible, but researching this post has made me even more grateful for modern medicine. For bonus stories of accidental vaccinations, click here and here. However, I recommend eating your breakfast/second breakfast/lunch/dinner first. They were too gross for me to even transcribe.
Fear facial hair.
It appears that the [kindergartens’] former vaccinator had a beard, and the children were very much afraid of him and created a scene when it came to vaccination time.
“For at least six months afterward whenever a man came to the school with a beard a panic ensured,” said Miss Lawrence, “and the room would be emptied in no time. The children fled wildly in all directions; those who could not get out quickly enough by the door, jumped through the windows.”
Miss Lawrence resumed half hesitatingly, “Mr. Frank Damon came in one day and of course he did not look at all like the doctor, but the moment they saw his beard—well, the scene that followed was very funny, I can assure you.”– The Pacific Commercial Advertiser, November 10, 1900
This must’ve been the moment when doctors started giving out lollipops.
Have fashionable friends.
The latest fashionable amusement in Paris is “vaccination teas.” A lady moving in the highest circles of society, the Duchess d’Herronville. . . issued a number of invitations for 5 o’clock tea. . .
Just as the tea was in full swing, a smartly groomed gentleman appeared and was greeted by the hostess as “cher Monsieur le docteur,” and who was introduced by the Duchess to her friends. . . Then the guests were startled by the announcement of the Duchess that she had specially invited the doctor that her friends, if they cared to, could be vaccinated at once. . . At this there was a general chorus of protests from the ladies.
Thereupon the doctor enlarged upon the terrible ravages which this disease made upon feminine beauty, and was so softly persuasive that the ladies’ objections were overcome and they yielded. Then began a great rustle of silks and laces, while dainty white arms were bared and timid little shrieks filled the room.
When it was all over, many of the ladies voted the surprise as “absolutely charming,” “highly original” and “greatly amusing.” Indeed, so great was it voted a success that many of the vaccinated ladies followed suit and gave vaccination teas of their own.– The Pensacola Journal, May 18, 1907
No offense to any friends reading, but I need to upgrade my social circle. I had to get my vaccine the old-fashioned way by refreshing the pharmacy website until it admitted defeat and gave me an appointment. My wrist is still sore.
They have vaccination parties in Philadelphia now. Instead of ice-cream and cake, vaccine virus is provided for the guests. When the hour for refreshments arrived, says somebody who has attended one of these social assemblies, the guests seated themselves, and the doctors went round the room supplying their wants.
Instead of being asked if they would have strawberry or vanilla, the guests heard the questions, “Which will you take madam, the infant virus, or that from the original cow?” And when the inquiries had made the round of the room, they could be heard saying at the virus table, “Give me five infants and three original cows;” and so on until every one was served.
Of course, in a few days after the party, it was the proper thing for the guests to call upon each other and compare arms.– The Aberdare Times, December 16, 1871
Infants or cows, what a ridiculous question! Who would be picky about—”Moderna or Pfizer?” “Johnson & Johnson or AstraZeneca?”—never mind. Some things never change.
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Disclaimer: The modern era is far from the first to grapple with rampant “fake news.” As I am neither a historian nor journalist, I make no claims about the accuracy or lack thereof of the above sources. I assert only that they make for a good story.
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About This Blog
Welcome to Second Glance History! This blog seeks to uncover the people and the stories forgotten by history and give them another read through a modern lens. Join me every week as we examine the differences that divide and the common threads that connect the then to the now.