Space & Innovation

The Bizarre Story Of The Very First Vaccine

Vaccines are everywhere nowadays, but how did they come about? Turns out, the story's a lot weirder than you might think.

This Europe in the 18th Century. Smallpox is everywhere, 400,000 Europeans are dying from it each year. And there's no cure, but there might be hope... there's a doctor who thinks he's found a way to fight the disease. All you need to do is let him infect you with some good, old-fashioned, cowpox-infected pus. Of course, there is this other doctor who says, "Sure, you could do that, but it will might make your face look like a cow's." And the debate over vaccines began.

Read More:

BBC: Edward Jenner (1749 - 1823)

World Health Organization: Frequently asked questions and answers on smallpox

Health Affairs: The History Of Vaccines And Immunization: Familiar Patterns, New Challenges