Milwaukee Health Board Official Tells How He Used Fright and Pressure to Have People Vaccinated.
"Since people cannot be vaccinated against their will, the biggest job of a health department has always been, and always will be, to persuade the unprotected people to get vaccinated. This we attempted to do in three ways: first by education; second, by fright; and third, by pressure.
We dislike very much to mention fright and pressure, yet they accomplish more than education, because they work faster than education, which is normally a slow process.
During the months of March and April we tried education, and vaccinated only 62,000. During May we made use of fright and pressure, and vaccinated 223,000 people.
Our educational program consisted of warnings in the daily papers, small-pox posters on the streets, in stores and factories, special small-pox bulletins for all large places of employment, and special letters to all large employers from the health department and the association of commerce, calling their attention to a threatening small-pox epidemic. The radio was also made use of in this work.
As the conditions grew worse, we felt justified in using stronger measures. We had some good pictures taken of patients suffering from the confluent type of small-pox, and had posters, showing these pictures, distributed all over the city. The moving picture theatres cooperated at this time by issuing warnings on the screen.
The newspapers published daily the names and addresses of people dying from small-pox. A second letter was sent to all factories, stores, and other places of business, informing them of a rapidly approaching small-pox epidemic, and advising them to have their employees vaccinated immediately, and thereby prevent a serious financial loss to the city, which might occur if a real epidemic developed.
At this time the department was vaccinating thousands of people daily, but there were still too many who could neither be educated nor frightened into vaccination. Cases and deaths each amounted to a considerable number, and we now felt justified in using all of the power a health officer has, and if that was not enough, to get more.
We sent out a third letter to all employers requesting them to have all of their employees vaccinated and at the same time informing them that if a small-pox case developed in their place of employment in the future we would consider their place of business a menace to the health of the community and very likely place the entire establishment under quarantine until it could be cleaned up and made safe for the public. Putting this responsibility on the employer drove in thousands of anti-vaccinationists who could better afford to get vaccinated than lose their jobs. All employees co-operated very bravely with this last request, although in a few instances it was necessary to lay off old, reliable and valuable employees."
- Declaration by Dr. John P. Koehler, Commissioner of Health of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in an article in The Wisconsin Medical Journal, November, 1925.
From The Facts against Compulsory Vaccination, a book by H.B. Anderson
Book reviewed by a party with clear conflicts of interest here