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From variolation to a shot in the arm; vaccines have a long and complicated history | KCRW – Life Examined

December 12, 2020

[Posted by Chuck Almdale | 12 December 2020]

I’m making an exception to my recent “rule” about not posting non-Audubon items on this blog. This radio discussion of plagues, viruses, variolation, vaccines and COVID-19 is exceptionally interesting and timely, and I think all our readers ought to be aware of it. I’ve already reserved Kinch’s book at the Los Angeles Public Library (7 available copies, plus eBook and CD formats).

Santa Monica’s public radio station KCRW has a Sunday Morning show called Life Explained, hosted by Jonathan Bastian. His guest today was Michael S. Kinch, PhD, Associate Vice Chancellor and Director, Center for Research Innovation in Business, and Professor of Radiation Oncology, School of Medicine, and author of what sounds like a fascinating book (pub. 2018), Between Hope and Fear: A History of Vaccines and Human Immunity about the long and complicated cultural history of vaccines. 

Links to the 32-minute Podcast or computer-ready version are on the website below, left side of screen.

From the KCRW blogsite:
How did ancient cultures make sense of plagues and pandemics?
In 1796, British doctor Edward Jenner became famous for being the first doctor to use a form of bovine disease called cowpox to inoculate or against smallpox. It was a breakthrough in medical history. Cowpox served as the natural vaccine until the modern smallpox vaccine was developed and by 1977 smallpox became the only human disease to be eradicated. Yet despite their achievement there were also those who were skeptical. The idea of putting something foreign inside your body led to the fear of vaccines that still exists today. 3 minute read  [Partial text of the interview then follows.]

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