When I went to school, every child had a smallpox vaccination scar on his shoulder. According to NPR, mandatory smallpox vaccinations in 1901 included scenes like this: 250 men arrived at a Little Italy tenement house in the middle of the night and set about vaccinating everyone they could find.
There were scenes of policemen holding down men in their night robes while vaccinators began their work on their arms. An assault on civil liberties? Yes. But in May 1980, the WHO General Assembly declared smallpox eradicated from the face of the earth.
Was the eradication campaign worth it? I think so. I, for one, am not in favor of expanding the scope of civil liberties to the point where it is detrimental to human health.
Ralph Gagnon, Chico