Typically, historical novels are set before the 19th century and into the early 20th century. Historical medical questions can be some of the more difficult ones to answer because it’s challenging to find source material from the time.
However, when it comes to medicine, historical might be considered a time frame of more than ten to twenty years ago because of the rapidly evolving nature of the practice of medicine. One example of this would be CPR guidelines. Did you know CPR guidelines generally change every five years? To put it simply, the way we are doing CPR now is not the way it looked even ten years ago. Often times, what a writer might consider a contemporary medical question is truly a historical one.
I came across this resource called The History of Vaccines which reviews what vaccines were available when.
For instance, diptheria vaccines began in 1926, tetanus in 1938, pertussis in the 1940’s, and polio vaccine was widely available around 1955.
If you’re curious whether or not a character could have had the potential to be vaccinated against a certain disease, this source would be great to check out.
2 thoughts on “The History of Vaccines”
Interesting. I had Whooping Cough at 6 weeks old. I am 70. I remember those early vaccinations. I got the polio sugar cube in grade school. I was sick with both kinds of measles and chicken pox. Even my four kids got chicken pox. But the younger two , we purposely exposed and they didn’t get it. Then they got it when they were teens.
Thanks for sharing your experience!
I remember my mom taking me to visit kids who were sick with chicken pox but I didn’t get them until years later when I was in elementary school.