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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.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9 a.m., my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. My email is steve@kcur.org.
Trevor Grandin is a contributing producer for KCUR Studios.