Vaccinations throughout the years: These photos show just how much has changed

Let’s bring back the Wellbee, please?

In this 1976 photo, Temple Sharkey winces as he gets a swine flu shot at a clinic as public demand for a vaccine soared after a case of the disease was reported in Missouri. Health officials say they will probably never be sure the man had swine flu because of the lack of a throat swab.
In this 1976 photo, Temple Sharkey winces as he gets a swine flu shot at a clinic as public demand for a vaccine soared after a case of the disease was reported in Missouri. Health officials say they will probably never be sure the man had swine flu because of the lack of a throat swab. (Getty Images)

Health care workers across the country are now rolling up their sleeves for the first COVID-19 shots.

The vaccines earlier this week kicked off what will become the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history, one that could finally conquer the outbreak, the Associated Press reported.

The pandemic has now claimed 300,000 lives in the U.S. -- and counting.

We thought it’d be interesting to look through the Getty Images archive, at photos of vaccination efforts from years past.

Only time will tell what the situation will look like once this new vaccine is available to the masses. But until then ... let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? (Or through the history books, in some cases).

A little girl prepares to receive her polio shot in the 1950s. (Getty Images)
An illustration of Edward Jenner vaccinating a child in 1796 from Le Petit Journal, 1901. (Corbis via Getty Images)
The original caption on this 1930s-era Newark, New Jersey photo reads, "Quarantine barriers: To prevent the spread of smallpox, health officer Jones questions people before permitting them to pass the barriers that have been placed at Barclay Street. The streets are roped off and all people entering or leaving must show a vaccination not more than five days old." (Getty Images)
A technician at the New Jersey Medical Research Institute tests a batch of eggs that have been injected with the typhus virus in order to produce an anti-typhus vaccine, in a photo for a publication printed Sept. 25, 1943. (Getty Images)
Joining the many thousands of New Yorkers combatting smallpox, circus performers appearing at Madison Square Garden submit to inoculation. In this 1947 photo, Dr. Vincent Ardiello inserts the pox vaccine on the thigh of Betty Broadband, the tattoo lady. (Getty Images)
The original caption to this Tokyo photo says that city health officials are pictured giving anti-Cholera toxin injections to wives of fishermen. Tokyo was threatened with a great Cholera plague, and drastic measures were taken by health authorities, to halt the epidemic. (Getty Images)
This poster features the CDC's national symbol of public health, "Wellbee," who is shown here encouraging the public to take an oral polio vaccine. The CDC used Wellbee in a comprehensive marketing campaign for newspapers, posters, leaflets, radio and television, as well as personal appearances at public health events. Wellbee's first assignment was to sponsor the Sabin Type II oral polio vaccine campaigns across the United States. Later, Wellbee's character was incorporated into other health promotion campaigns, including diphtheria and tetanus immunizations, hand-washing, physical fitness and injury prevention. (PHIL/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Thousands of New Yorkers, on an appeal by then-Mayor William O'Dwyer and then-Health Commissioner Weinstein, came to city hospitals and health stations for vaccination against smallpox. New York officials, driving to stem any possible outbreak of an epidemic, have asked all those who have not been vaccinated against the disease for the past seven to ten years, to please do so. Free vaccinations were to be handed out at all city hospitals, health stations, city police stations and at the Department of Health. (1947) (Getty Images)
This is the BCG vaccine for tuberculosis developed in Paris in 1931. (Getty Images)
The original caption for this 1922 photo reads: "Inoculations at the Plague Hospital, Mumbai (Bombay)." (Culture Club/Getty Images)
For John Donaldson, traveling aboard the SS Chalmette to New Orleans -- Havana, Cuba, July 18, 1902. A printed certificate, filled out with ink by the United States Marine Hospital Service. (Getty Images)
A photo showing the oral administration of the polio vaccine to immunize this infant to the disease, 1977, in Dekalb County, Georgia. (CDC/Meridith Hickson/Getty Images)
Leo Casey watches aghast as Charles Buzine, 6, receives a shot of polio vaccine. Leo's up next. (Getty Images)
Mary O'Brien, 77, a resident of the St. Augustine Home, in Chicago, winces as she is inoculated against the swine flu. Residents of the home for the elderly were the first in the Chicago area to get the flu shots. Administering the inoculation is Bonnie Shears of the Chicago Board of Health. (Getty Images)
Assistants in a bacteriology production unit wearing respirators and protective clothing prepare batches of anthrax for experimental research. This has already led to the discovery of a vaccine. (Getty Images)
Some children in Cameroon, Africa hold up their vaccination certificates after being vaccinated against smallpox. After waiting in long lines, each participant receives a certificate of vaccination (1975). (CDC via Getty)
A polio vaccine is tested at the Glaxo Laboratories in Sefton Park, Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, Jan. 19, 1956. (Getty Images)
In this 1976 photo, Temple Sharkey winces as he gets a swine flu shot at a clinic as public demand for a vaccine soared after a case of the disease was reported in Missouri. Health officials say they will probably never be sure the man had swine flu because of the lack of a throat swab. (Getty Images)
As an 8-year-old girl receives a polio vaccine, she watches a television broadcast (showing Dr. Jonas Salk as he inoculates a boy) of a training telecast for physicians and scientists, in New York, New York, April 12, 1955. (Getty Images)
This nomadic Tuareg girl is receiving a smallpox vaccination in Mali, West Africa, 1967. (CDC/Getty Images)
Stored boxes of swine influenza vaccine, 1974. (CDC/Getty Images)
Victims of a drought in the Sahel region of Burkina Faso are too weak to fight the cholera epidemic that has just started to develop. (Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images)

Some 145 sites around the country, from Rhode Island to Alaska, received COVID-19 vaccine shipments Monday, with more deliveries set for the coming days.

High-risk health care workers were first in line.


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