1. Introduction: To Vaccinate, or Not to Vaccinate
Part I. Diseases, Death, and Disability
2. Living on the Edge
3. Bad Odors, Nasty Dust, and Dangerous Bugs
4. Not My Child!
Part II. Friendly Persuasion
5. Invisible Bugs Are Bad for You
6. Schoolhouse Medicine
7. Capstone Events
Part III. Ethical Authority?
8. Mistakes and Misdeeds
10. A Moral Compass?
11. A Problematic Process
12. School Days
Part IV. Line Up and Roll Up Your Sleeves
13. “Operation Needle”
14. The Complexities of Mass Immunization Culture
Part V. Intellectual Authority?
15. A Little Knowledge Is a Dangerous Thing
16. What Is Science?
The success of the polio vaccine was a remarkable breakthrough for medical science, effectively eradicating a dreaded childhood disease. It was also the largest medical experiment to use American schoolchildren. Richard J. Altenbaugh examines an uneasy conundrum in the history of vaccination: even as vaccines greatly mitigate the harm that infectious disease causes children, the process of developing these vaccines put children at great risk as research subjects. In the first half of the twentieth century, in the face of widespread resistance to vaccines, public health officials gradually medicalized American culture through mass media, public health campaigns, and the public education system. Schools supplied tens of thousands of young human subjects to researchers, school buildings became the main dispensaries of the polio antigen, and the mass immunization campaign that followed changed American public health policy in profound ways. Tapping links between bioethics, education, public health, and medical research, this book raises fundamental questions about child welfare and the tension between private and public responsibility that still fuel anxieties around vaccination today.