Wilfried Witte: Influenza Vaccination and Vaccine Policies in Germany, ca. 1930–1960. [Abstract]
The paper deals with the history of virological influenza vaccination before, during, and after the Third Reich. German microbiology got left behind in the 1930s because of its adherence to a bacteriological concept of influenza. It was not the London discovery of the influenza virus in 1933 that fundamentally changed this, but the fear of a new disastrous influenza pandemic that might develop in the context of World War II. Large-scale field trials beginning in 1942 in the United States prompted those in power in Germany to seek their own virological influenza vaccine. The plan was to vaccinate only groups of people important to the war effort. However, no influenza vaccination campaign took place during the Nazi era. This was not implemented until 1946/47 by the Allies, in Berlin. The West German public remained skeptical about influenza vaccination until the late 1950s. In East Germany, vaccination was seen as part of a socially hygienic health policy. The processes, theoretical backgrounds and personnel as well as institutional continuities are shown in the paper.
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