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Vaccine


Vaccination was first carried out by the English doctor Edward Jenner (1749-1823), born in Gloucestershire. The picture shows him with symbol of death, a cow and a syringe. Jenner had heard of a popular belief in Gloucestershire that a person had accidentally contracted pustules by milking a cow infected with cowpox (known in Latin as vaccinia, hence the name for the treatment) would be immune from smallpox.

 

Edward JennerSo, in 1796, he began to use the matter from cowpox pustules. At first the discovery met with a barrage of opposition, but during the 19th century the practice of vaccination spread all over the Europe. Vaccines are produced by weakening viruses by various different means, including heat, light and now ultra-violet rays.

Vaccines are now available to prevent not only smallpox but many other diseases such as tetanus, diphtheria, typhoid, polio and whooping-cough.