Drawing Blood from an Elderly Woman

Drawing Blood from an Elderly Woman

Drawing Blood from an Elderly Woman

This 1976 photograph showed a public health scientist as he was drawing blood from an elderly woman, to be tested during the nationwide swine flu vaccination campaign that was started in October, 1976.

This rare influenza strain, “A/New Jersey/76 (Hsw1N1) influenza virus” (swine flu), was reported among soldiers at Fort Dix, New Jersey, where one patient died. A very similar strain killed 500,000 people in the United States, and more than 20 million worldwide, during the pandemic of 1918-1919. In response to the 1976 outbreak, in order to prevent another epidemic, 50 million Americans were vaccinated during a 10 week period, setting an immunization world record.