Tag Archives: James Randi Educational Foundation

the death of smallpox and the birth of vaccination

Edward Jenners hair, a cc by-nc photo from Espino Family on Flickr
Edward Jenner's hair, a cc by-nc photo from Espino Family on Flickr

“A great deal of literature has been distributed casting discredit upon the value of vaccination in the prevention of smallpox. I do not see how any one who has gone through epidemics as I have, or who is familiar with the history of the subject, and who has any capacity left for clear judgement, can doubt its value.”

-Sir William Osler, from the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, December 22, 1910

Today marks the 215th anniversary of Edward Jenner’s first vaccination of a patient with cowpox to prevent smallpox, an event that directly lead to the first public health campaign to eradicate an infectious disease. I have a column up at the James Randi Educational Foundation looking at the fascinating history of the smallpox vaccine, accompanied by Leart Shaka’s thoughts on the same.