Thank you Dr Jenner

Dr. Edward Jenner performing his first vaccination on James Phipps, a boy of age 8. 14 May 1796 (Photo: Wikipedia)

With the world-wide Pandemic (in some situations ‘pandemonium’) caused by the Covid-19 virus, vaccines were quickly developed which would produce an immune reaction to kill the virus. Despite much verbiage on the “social media” the vaccines do work. In fact, the whole concept of vaccination is based on good scientific evidence and not by those who profess to know all with a little help from the “social media” and a misplaced Dr. Google.

How did we (Homo sapiens) get to this stage of enlightenment? The story begins with a process called variolation, where small amounts of smallpox scrapings were re-introduced to the body by scarifying. The next step was to introduce scarification of the patient with smallpox and time soon showed that the now vaccinated population had a lower death rate, where before 400,000 people died annually of smallpox.

However, in 1796 Dr. Edward Jenner collected debris of cowpox pustule (the animal variant of smallpox) from the arm of a milkmaid named Sarah Nelmes and scratched it into the arm of an eight year old boy James Phipps. This was the breakthrough.

After this, even exposing young James to people with smallpox, he did not develop smallpox. By scientific application of the knowledge of the day, Edward Jenner and Sarah Nelmes led the charge against smallpox, the disease of the world.

After this ‘radical’ new treatment was accepted, smallpox was beaten. So much so that the World Health Organization eventually ceased promotion of vaccination for smallpox. So vaccination is not some new process, designed to bring pestilence to the world at large. Fringe minority groups believe many strange ideas such as the vaccines are secretly being used for sterilization of Muslims.

However, there are plenty of other conditions that the immunologists can work on developing. Covid-19 is one of those. The tried and true concepts of immunization have come from a wealth of past research and knowledge. Anti-vaxxers are riding the wrong horse.

This table shows the development of vaccination since Dr Edward Jenner
Hib 1892
Pertussis 1914
Diphtheria 1926
Tetanus 1938
Influenza 1930
Measles 1963
Mumps 1967
Rubella 1969
Polio (IPV) 1950
Hepatitis B 1981
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
Varicella 1996
Rotavirus 1998
Hepatitis A 2000
Meningococcal ACWY
Meningococcal B