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Highly Contagious Virus? Missouri's History Repeats Itself

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Carlos Moreno/KCUR 89.3
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Local jurisdictions are weighing the decision to update their health orders after Kansas City issued a mandate that would require masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

As hospitals fill up and people continue to fall to the delta variant, a story from Missouri's past reveals this isn't the state's first battle with vaccine hesitancy.

In 1907, smallpox was widely under control. Despite the widespread acceptance of a vaccine one unvaccinated Missouri legislator brought the virus into the capital building in Jefferson City. The ensuing panic brought about a conversation on public healthcare and inoculation. The result was a vaccination mandate for both the legislature and Jefferson City.

Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Trevor Grandin is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date.