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Historical cartoon of smallpox vaccination

Historical cartoon of smallpox vaccination

N536/0016

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Credit

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Smallpox vaccination. Historical cartoon (1802) by James Gillray, depicting smallpox vaccination. In 1796 Edward Jenner, an English doctor, coined the word vaccination to describe his use of cowpox inoculation to obtain immunity to smallpox. Smallpox was a terrible disease, epidemics of which often had a mortality rate of 20% and left survivors disfigured. Jenner inoculated a boy with fluid obtained from a cowpox blister on the hand of a milk-maid. He later inoculated the boy with smallpox but found him to be immune. Vaccination soon became widespread and eradicated the disease in many parts of Europe.

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