It's that time of year where we are all encouraged to get our flu shots; meanwhile, my baby nephew recently got his two month vaccines. In line with this, I'm reminded of the interview I recently did with my Great Aunt Ree at Story Corps.
While talking about her father's death from Tuberculosis in the 1940s, we ended up on the topic of general illness. When she was a child (the 1930s), they didn't have vaccines like we do today. Because of this, she came down with just about every "childhood disease," as she called them. It's a foreign concept to me to consider measles and mumps as diseases a child would be expected to catch. When a member of the family came down with a serious illness, the home was quarantined. My Great-Aunt said that one year, she caught so many diseases that she missed most of the school year and was held back. I had to wonder: her parents were mill workers who depended on each day's wage; how did the family suffer financially due to the quarantine? (My aunt couldn't give specifics due to her young age.)
My mom remembers getting the polio vaccine as a school girl in the late 1960s. The entire family (six kids), went up to the high school together for the polio vaccine on a sugar cube, as well as a TB test. My dad still has a scar on his arm from his childhood vaccinations.
My history with vaccines is more like that of my nephew: got 'em young. I recently found my immunization card, which lists the shots I got and when I got them. How times change!