Highlight of the month

The Palestinian Museum Digital Archive
Vaccination Certificates: The Living Archive

It is certain that the sudden and rampant spread of the emerging coronavirus, since early 2020, has turned the tables and opposed expectations on various levels. Plus, the ambiguity surrounding the management of the pandemic, the acceleration of its transformations, and the uncertainty of its elimination raised many questions, the most urgent and interactive of which are the questions about the nature and origin of the virus, about the feasibility of vaccines, and the extent to which all of this is related to the conspiracy theory and the integrity of the various policies of countries and institutions. All due to the pandemic affecting daily life, penetrating social, economic and cultural boundaries, contributing to the reconfiguration of class structures and affecting many human and institutional practices and behaviours, so much so that vaccination certificates; issued by the competent authorities of any country, became a required necessity for many daily life activities, up to the point that such certificates started to hold control over the freedom of movement, transportation and travel.

Given that the Palestinian Museum Digital Archive, since its inception, has held the responsibility to recovering historical facts and contributing to the production of narratives about Palestine, its culture and society by reviewing lived experiences and retrieving models of daily life, customs, traditions and self-patterns of behavior – known as social history from below, this blog highlights a set of vaccination certificates and cards issued in Palestine, or to Palestinians by different authorities since the Ottoman rule of Palestine.

Ottoman Certificate of Vaccination Against a Contagious Disease, 1911
The Yaffa Cultural Centre Collection

Dated on 1329 Ah, corresponding to 1911, this document shows a certificate of vaccination, against a contagious disease, issued by the Ministry (Nazaret) of Interior and the Department of Royal Medical Affairs and Public Health in Palestine during the Ottoman rule. It is noteworthy that the cholera epidemic had swept the region in that period and caused heavy losses.

Farid Azar’s Vaccination Certificate Issued by ICRC-Nablus, 1949
The Ghassan Abdullah Collection

Issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Nablus on 21 September 1949, this archival material documents a vaccination certificate for Farid Yusef Azar, stating that he is from Haifa and holds a refugee card bearing no. 19011, and that he was vaccinated for Smallpox and Typhoid.

The Abdullah Affaneh Collection
Smallpox International Vaccination Certificate for Abdullah Afaneh, 1953

Issued on 25 August 1953 by the Ministry of Health in Nablus, this document shows an International Health Certificate confirming that Abdullah Abdelqader Affaneh was vaccinated for Smallpox on 17 August 1953. Bearing the Jordan Red Crescent Society stamp and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan import stamps, the certificate states that it is valid for three years.

The Omar al-Qasem Collection
Smallpox Vaccination Certificate for Omar al-Qasem, 1962

A certificate issued by the Ministry of Health in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan stating that the shaheed Omar al-Qasim; residing in al-Sharaf Neighborhood in Jerusalem, has received the vaccine against smallpox on 27 May 1962 at the age of 21 years. The bottom of the certificate bears a note stating that it is a local certificate- not valid for travel outside the Kingdom.

The Jawad Hiwwary Collection
Cholera International Vaccination Certificate for Jamal Hiwwary, 1966

Issued by the Ministry of Health in Nablus, this document shows a Cholera International Vaccination Certificate for Jamal Abdelaziz Yasin Hiwwary, stating that he received two shots of the vaccine on 24 and 31 August 1966. Bearing the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan import stamps, the certificate states that it is valid for six months.

The Nakhleh Qare Collection
International Certificates of Vaccination for Khamis al-Qare, 1969

Issued by the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), in accordance with the sanitary regulations of the World Health Organization, this international certificate of vaccination shows that Khamis Nakhleh al-Qare, a resident of Ramallah, was vaccinated against Smallpox on 16 October 1969, at the Ramallah Central Health Department at the age of 23. 

The Deya Misyef Collection
International Certificate of Vaccination Against Cholera and Yellow Fever for Jamal Misyef, 1970

Stamped by the Health Directorate of Health in Jericho and printed on 19 August 1970 in English and French and filled in with Arabic, this document shows an international certificate of vaccination or revaccination against Cholera and Yellow Fever in the name of 32 years old Jamal Hasan Misyef.

The Abdelhamid al-Hiwwary Collection
A Vaccination Card for Jihad al-Hiwwary, 1970

Issued by the Ministry of Health in Nablus 1970, this document shows a vaccination card against communicable and infectious diseases, including Smallpox, Poliomyelitis and Measles for Jihad Abbas Yasin Muhammad al-Hiwwary; born in Sebastia-Nablus on 1 December 1969.

The Jawad Hiwwary Collection
International Vaccination Certificates Against Smallpox for Fatima Hiwwary, 1972

Issued by the World Health Organization on 10 December 1972, this document shows international vaccination certificates against contagious diseases including Smallpox and Cholera for Fatima Rafiq Hiwwary.

The Arab Development Society Collection
International Certificates of Vaccination for Mousa al-Alami, 1978

Issued by the Deutsche Lufthansa, in accordance with the sanitary regulations of the World Health Organization, these international certificates of vaccination show that Musa al-Alami was vaccinated against Smallpox at Palestine Hospital on 1 June 1978. 

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