First vaccine mandate in U.S. came in Massachusetts in 1809


The law was initially ad hoc: the state remained largely rural, and the mandate was largely enforced – through fines or quarantine – during outbreaks, according to Elena Conis, a medical historian at the University of California, Berkeley. Still, the same year the mandate was passed, people across the state called for vaccinations, according to local news reports. One newspaper wrote of the trial in 1809: “It does not leave a blemish, but a blessing; – one of the greatest ever given to man; – a perfect security against the future infection with smallpox. “