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October 9, 2002

Antivaccination Web SitesAntivaccination Web Sites

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2002;288(14):1717-1718. doi:10.1001/jama.288.14.1717

To the Editor: Organized opposition to vaccination has existed for more than 2 centuries. The content found in modern antivaccination Web sites, as reported by Dr Wolfe and colleagues,1 is similar in its emotions but differs in its arguments from early charges against the procedure. The "society of antivaccinationists" was founded in 1798, the same year that Jenner published An Inquiry Into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae. At that time vaccination was considered an inappropriate meddling in the work of God. One critic claimed that "Smallpox is a visitation from God and originates in man, but cowpox is produced by presumptuous, impious men. The former Heaven ordained, the latter is perhaps a daring and profane violation of our holy order."2