JUL 03, 2017 5:42 PM PDT

The Story of Vaccines

WRITTEN BY: Carmen Leitch

Vaccines have done so much good for public health that society now has the luxury of questioning whether they are necessary. There was a time, however, when the threat of deadly diseases drove people to extremes as they sought a way to stop the spread of illness. The video discusses vaccines in general, but also tells the strange story of how vaccines were first developed, when a doctor was pushed to use unethical methods to demonstrate what he knew, and ultimately to save lives.

Edward Jenner was born in England in 1749, and by 1796 was carrying out an experiment on a young boy to demonstrate that exposure to cowpox would prevent a later, serious illness from smallpox. While his experiment successfully proved his theory, he had to go on to use several more children, this time his own, to build enough data to convince people of his methods.

Naturally everyone was not converted overnight, and Jenner faced derision for his work. It would only be a matter of time however, before the results of vaccination became clear enough to be undeniable and vaccines were widely adopted.
About the Author
  • Experienced research scientist and technical expert with authorships on 28 peer-reviewed publications, traveler to over 60 countries, published photographer and internationally-exhibited painter, volunteer trained in disaster-response, CPR and DV counseling.
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