There are no shortages of debates between anti-vaxxers and the rest of the world on the internet, but if you open up a history book you will find these arguments are centuries old. As it turns out Benjamin Franklin was not just a founding father, but a staunch supporter of vaccinations.


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In 1736 Franklin lost his son to smallpox, which sparked him to write an important message on the topic decades later. In the text, he urged parents to inoculate their children – and even though the science behind it was still underdeveloped in the 18th century, his main points till hold today. Scroll down below to see what this founding father had to say.

During the great smallpox epidemic of 1721 James Franklin was part of the charge against vaccines, while his brother Benjamin Franklin took a more neutral stance

Image credits: wikipedia

But then something happened that would transform Benjamin into one of the early advocates for vaccines and in the final portion of his 1788 “Autobiography” he made sure to include why

And his message is still relevant today

Franklin’s son Franky, as his parents called him, died at the age of 4.  The words: “The delight of all who knew him,” were inscribed on his tombstone

Image credits: wikipedia

Edward Jenner is recognized as the father of the smallpox vaccine, through his 1796 scientific trials studying the relationship between exposure to cowpox and smallpox immunity

Smallpox vaccine, connaught labs, 1954 (Image credits: Sanofi Pasteur Canada)

And in 1976 the World Health Organization began a global campaign to eradicate smallpox

Smallpox in Windsor, 1924, showing vaccinated and unvaccinated siblings (Image credits: J.J. Heagerty)

On May 8, 1980 they made this announcement: “The world and all its people have won freedom from smallpox, which was the most devastating disease sweeping in epidemic form through many countries since earliest times, leaving death, blindness and disfigurement in its wake”

Smallpox infected mother with vaccinated child, Windsor, 1924 (Image credits: J.J. Heagerty)

But people on the internet still agree that not even founding father Benjamin Franklin can change these anti-vaxxers minds