Letter to the editor: Confessions of an anti-vaxxer

To the editor:

About this time of  year in 1944 I was preparing for first grade in Kingsville, Texas. For me this meant a smallpox vaccination. My mother and grandmother, both having day jobs, planned that I should leave my grandmother’s care at her public library desk and walk two blocks to the doctor for the vaccination.

My mother, a nurse, believed deeply in shots, as I did not. I was not about to go freely for a shot, so when she returned from work I readily lied that I had gotten my shot. She had heard from the doctor that I was a no-show and demanded to see my arm. “I got it in my thigh,” I said, having seen her own scar on her thigh. “You just can’t see it yet.”

My poor mother, facing bureaucratic grief for my lacking the Texas-mandated  vaccination, luckily had a friend, a woman doctor, who came to the rescue with an after-hour visit to her office, just in time. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this wasn’t a “shot,” but a painless pricking of the skin — in the arm.

Richard Hardin,



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