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How significant were Edward Jenner’s vaccinations in the prevention of disease?
Title: Edward Jenner – the discovery of smallpox vaccine
Description: Competing in a game show 'The greatest science investigator of all time', famous scientist from history describe their life's work and explain why they deserve the title. On this show it’s the turn of Edward Jenner who tells the story of how he discovered the smallpox vaccine.
Watch this game show style interview with 'Edward Jenner' and decide how significant his discoveries were. Then post your thoughts on this discussion wall about the significance of his work.
Smallpox was a big killer. It killed and maimed many people. It could cause blindness and deafness. Those who survived were left horribly scarred. It could devastate communities. Before Jenner came up with the idea of vaccination there was no safe or effective prevention from smallpox. It killed huge numbers each year.
This was done by taking some pus from a smallpox spot and putting it into a scratch on the skin. The child would suffer a minor dose of smallpox but would be immune to the full version of the disease. It was risky. In many cases the full-strength smallpox was caught. Inoculation even seemed to spread the smallpox more quickly than usual. Even so people were so afraid of smallpox that they were prepared to take this risk. Inoculation was brought to Britain by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. She had seen it being used in Turkey.
Jenner and vaccination.
How did people react to Jenner?
His ideas were not accepted by everyone. Some of the medical profession refused to accept his results. There were problems and mistakes. Sometimes the vaccination was not done correctly. Sometimes the hospital mixed smallpox fluid with cowpox fluid. No one would publish his work. He did not have enough data to support his claims. Jenner had to pay for this to be done. Some even believed that they might turn into cows.
An illustration from the anti-vaccine league outlining some of the fears
about the effect of vaccination. Download
this word document and complete the source evaluation tasks.
• His work was used worldwide.
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