Between Panic and Apathy

On Oct. 14, 1976, while the TV cameras rolled, U.S. President Gerald Ford pushed up his sleeve and received his influenza vaccine. It wasn't an ordinary flu jab. In February of that year, an 18-year-old U.S. Army recruit had died of a swine flu virus, which scientists at the time believed was closely related to the virus that had caused the 1918 influenza pandemic. High-level disease experts worried that the new virus signaled the return of the 1918 flu, and barely a month after the soldier's death, Ford announced an unprecedented emergency plan to inoculate the entire American population against swine...

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