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May 1969

Jonathan Hutchinson on Vaccination Syphilis

Author Affiliations

New York

From the Department of Dermatology, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York.

Arch Dermatol. 1969;99(5):529-535. doi:10.1001/archderm.1969.01610230021004

A century ago, even as today, the opponents of compulsory vaccination for smallpox argued that the complications of the procedure might be worse than the disease. One of the most resolute advocates of compulsory vaccination at the time was Jonathan Hutchinson, then a newly elected honorary member of the New York Dermatological society. Hutchinson made no secret of his contempt for the misguided zealots who supported the antivaccination movement. One may well imagine, therefore, how painful it must have been for him to report in detail his findings on the transmission of syphilis by arm-to-arm vaccination. Hutchinson met the problem with characteristic courage. How he did so is summarized in this article.