Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Early Childhood Immunization Record...

This may not interest anybody but me, but here it is anyway- my childhood immunization record, showing my original birth name of Julia, from back in the 1950s. If you click on the images, to enlarge them, you can clearly read them. I came across this the other day and found myself studying it. You can see that some of my entries have Jeanette Munro listed as the physician. She was my childhood doctor, before I was sent off to boarding school at age 11. As I researched for this article, I discovered that she was the very FIRST pediatrician in Princeton, New Jersey! I don't know when she began her practice, but I'm guessing the 1940s or early 1950s. I remember I was given a lollipop at the end of each visit.

It also notes on the front side, in the 'Record of Childhood Diseases' section, that I had measles just after I turned two, in August of 1957. I don't remember that. I believe I also had chickenpox several years later, around age six or seven, though that's not mentioned on this record from earlier childhood.

Another thing I remember happening later in childhood is getting a tetanus shot, after stepping on a rusty nail that went through my shoe into my foot. It was especially distressing because it happened just a couple of days before Halloween, and so I could not go trick or treating that year. My cousins gave me some of their Halloween candy, but only the yucky stuff they didn't want.

One point to note in looking at this old immunization record is how early childhood immunizations have CHANGED in the last 50 years. Today there are several shots given that were not given when I was a child, such as Hepatitis A and B. Below is the list of today's early childhood vaccinations, for children in the United States.

Recommended Vaccinations:

Hepatitis B
Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PCV)
DTaP (diphtheria, tetanus, acellular pertussis (whooping cough))
Hib (meningitis)
IPV (polio)
MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
Varicella (chickenpox)
MCV4 (bacterial meningitis) (for older children, ages 11 -12)
Hepatitis A

I, on the other hand, was given a smallpox vaccine, which is no longer given because smallpox was officially declared erradicated from the human population back in May 1980.

Early 20th century quarantine poster.

In October, 1977, Ali Maow Maalin of Somalia
contracted variola minor, becoming the last person
in the world to contract smallpox naturally.

Also, I was given vaccines for Thyphoid and Cholera. I don't know, but perhaps I was given those because the family was moving to Istanbul, Turkey. I see I was given a 'Schick Test', a diagnostic test designed to evaluate susceptibility to diphtheria, while we were still in Turkey, in June of 1959.

I know that in recent years childhood immuniztions have become somewhat controversial, with some parents refusing to give them to their children, fearing the potential risk outweighs the protection given. Back in the 1950s, I don't think anyone gave it a second thought.


Jaya said...

Hah! My older brother Richard sent me an e-mail shortly after this post appeared, saying he remembers going to Dr. Munro, and the lollipops he was given there.

The Phantom said...

Quite an interesting post. Came across your blog searching for 'early childhood diseases'. Remember my smallpox vaccination very well and still have a nickel size scar from it. We got our polio vaccinations at school, first the shots and a few years later the sugar cubes. Other than those and the measles and DPT, that was all we got back then.