Smallpox Vaccine and Resident Responses in Modern Shanghai: Focusing on Regional and Cultural Comparison
In modern Shanghai, smallpox was one of the most threatening diseases with its mortality rate going up to 30 percent. In response to the disease, Dr. William Lockhart, a medical missionary of the London Missionary Society, introduced vaccination to the Chinese people in Shanghai. He built the first western style hospital in Shanghai, Renji Hospital, in 1843. At this time, native doctors also played a very important role. For example, Huang Chun-pu was in charge of the dispensary in the Chinese
... ary in the Chinese City in Shanghai, and he was the one who introduced vaccination under Dr. Lockhart's direction. In 1868, the Health Office of Shanghai Municipal Council began to implement a vaccination program. Around the turn of the 20th century, the Health Office of Shanghai Municipal Council managed several sub-district offices, hospitals, dispensaries, gaol, and even the traditional place like simiao for the free vaccinations. Urban residents benefited from a sanitary system, such as wide and free vaccination, compared to people who lived in rural areas. Moreover, Shanghai possessed the advantage of having the vaccine as a staple product of the Municipal Laboratory. The number of units of the vaccine issued from the Laboratory in sequence of years from 1898 to 1920 has been 115,351 on average. Unlike the International Settlement, where systematic inoculation was conducted under the leadership of the Municipal Council, the Chinese City was still reliant on charity organizations in the early 1900s. The foreign residence in the International Settlement had a strong influence from the foreign governments, and foreign doctors were well-aware of the need for the vaccination. However, the Chinese City was a Chinese enclave that was still under the traditional rule of the Qing Dynasty. In addition, the people of Shanghai had different perceptions of the smallpox vaccination, and this became an obstacle to the establishment of urban sanitation systems. Some Chinese people still relied on the traditional Chinese variolation and Chinese custom. For example, Chinese people still applied for inoculation in the spring and avoided summer and fall following traditional Chinese variolation, even though the best time to get vaccinated was in early winter before the spread of smallpox. In addition, foreigners were often more problematic than Chinese because they often overlooked the importance of vaccines and relied on drugs instead. The municipal authority, therefore, provided a wide range of free vaccinations for the poor and needy people regardless of their nationalities, and with such measures, sought to establish a stable urban sanitation system. This had been the key to the success of hygiene policies.