In February 1966, Illinois Department of Public Health officials predicted a major measles outbreak unless local agencies set up crash immunization programs.
“We will have a severe epidemic with deaths and encephalitis … unless there is widespread use of the measles vaccine beginning immediately,” said the department’s Dr. Norman Rose on Feb. 1.
Springfield health officials responded by offering free vaccinations at city Firehouse No. 1, Seventh and Jefferson streets, on the third Friday of each month. A total of 925 children received shots in February, and another 900 turned out on March 18 (in photo above).
The program apparently had an impact. City supervising nurse Martha Althouse said Springfield had experienced more than 500 cases of “red measles” in February, but those numbers fell to 388 in March, to 94 in April and to only 16 as of May 13, when the Illinois State Journal published an update.
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