In 1926 seven-year-old Belema Siegfried was turned away from school. The reason? Her parents had refused to submit paperwork proving that she had been vaccinated. Several months after Belema was turned away from school, her father, a Brooklyn chiropractor named Louis Siegfried, was arrested.
Each year in August, National Immunization Awareness Month provides an opportunity to highlight the value of immunization across the lifespan. Activities focus on encouraging all people to protect their health by being vaccinated against infectious diseases.
At the height of the Cold War, Soviet and American scientists and physicians united to call for a new and very different war—one on infectious disease. Arguing that smallpox would be one of the easiest of infectious diseases to kill permanently, delegates at the 1959 meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO) aggressively called for the worldwide eradication of smallpox.