Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Last week in my blog article I introduced the topic of smallpox and how civilizations over the centuries practiced various forms of inoculation. But despite all those different forms of inoculation, one man developed the vaccination we use today. His name was Dr. Edward Jenner. 

Edward Jenner
Edward Jenner was born in 1749 in Berkeley, Gloucestershire. He trained in London, and after a period as an army surgeon, returned to his native county of Gloucestershire in the West of England where he established his country medical practice.

In 1796, he began wondering about the tales that dairymaids were protected from smallpox after having suffered from cowpox. He concluded that cowpox not only protected against smallpox but could also be transmitted deliberately from one person to another as a mechanism of protection. In May of that year, Edward Jenner found a young dairymaid, Sarah Nelms, who had fresh cowpox lesions on her hands and arms. Using matter from her lesions, he inoculated an 8-year-old boy, James Phipps. The boy developed mild fever and discomfort in the armpits. Nine days after the procedure, he felt cold and lost his appetite, but recovered the next day. In July 1796, Jenner inoculated the boy again with matter from a fresh smallpox lesion. No disease developed. Dr. Jenner concluded the boy was now protected against smallpox. He called his treatment “vaccination,” from the Latin vacca, a cow.

The medical world that dominated London would not accept that a country doctor had made such an important discovery. When Jenner took his findings to London, he was publicly humiliated. But he wouldn’t give up. He continued adding to his case studies, and eventually the medical community couldn't deny what he had discovered.

Jenner wanted to make sure his vaccination was available to the poor, as well as the rich. As a result, he didn't patent his discovery. He also built a one-room hut in the garden of his property, which he called the “Temple of Vaccinia,” where he vaccinated the poor for free.

After his death, in 1840, Edward Jenner’s vaccination received final vindication. The British government banned any other treatment for smallpox other than Jenner's.


  1. was he ever wanted by someone for making the vaccination

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


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