As casually as possible I asked what his family was doing now.
“Last I heard they were keeping the labs going as best they could. Every year it seems some nasty flu strain springs up, comes in from South America, and the chemists have to rework the vaccines to suit.”
I knew their vaccines well, part of my duties were carrying ampoules along my route to distribute. With everything as back to basics as it had become, folk were not nearly as stubborn as they might previously have been about vaccination. We simply couldn’t afford to lose any more of our population, so every town had a Bug Party when the vaccines came in, dancing and potluck dinners, it was just as much a social event as a medical necessity. Children learned early to look forward to the process instead of fearing it.
I still remembered the stories of those childhood diseases, thoroughly eradicated decades before I was born, that came raging back when parents began refusing routine vaccinations due to some harebrained notion they caused developmental issues. No medical evidence was ever produced to back up that claim, but it was too late – whooping cough decimated a generation in Old California before doctors revolted and demanded legislation requiring vaccines.