Dr Edward Jenner carrying out his first smallpox vaccination on James Phipps, 14 May 1796
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Ernest Board (b.1877, d.1934) Production date
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Jenner proved that contracting cowpox provided immunity against smallpox. He called the procedure 'vaccination' after the Latin word for cow 'vacca'. Despite some opposition, vaccination soon became standard practice for preventing smallpox. Thanks to a global eradication programme of mass vaccination, the World Health Organisation officially declared smallpox eradicated in 1980.
What was smallpox?
Smallpox, now eradicated, was a highly infectious and deadly disease that was endemic around the world. Symptoms included feverishness, sickness and diarrhoea, and a rash across the body which developed into fluid-filled blisters. Survivors of the disease were often left blind and with deep pitted scars on their skin. During the 20th century alone, around 300 million people died from smallpox worldwide.
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