I took my child in for her four-year-old exam this morning, and the four shots she received in her pitifully slender little legs led me to think of Cotton Mather. As one does.
The fun fact to know and tell of the morning: despite the contemporary controversy that surrounds vaccinations, the practice of inoculating citizens against disease is nothing new. Even before we had an understanding of germ theory or infection, a few observant souls noticed that people who came into contact with less virulent forms of disease often did not contract more serious strains. The Puritan minister Cotton Mather was one such individual. Given his prominence in the Church-dominated society of Massachusetts Bay Colony, he was able to advocate for the inoculation of many Boston citizens against smallpox by injecting them with cowpox. Yuck? Yes. Controversial? Very much so. But effective? You betcha.
Meredith likely isn't feeling very thankful for the advocacy of folks like Mather as she nurses her tender legs through a morning of preschool. Her mother, however, is happy to know that from diphtheria to tetanus, measles to polio, she is protected.