history of vaccines

Topics: Vaccination, Vaccine, Smallpox Pages: 7 (907 words) Published: October 14, 2014


History of Vaccines

According to the Historical Medical Library of Physicians of Philadelphia, the Chinese would scrape scabs from smallpox victims on to healthy open pores of the arm dating back to 1000AD. They believed that exposing a person to a small amount of the disease would help them build up immunity towards it. This was also called inoculation. Such ideas inspired what we now call immunizations or vaccines. The history of vaccines begins with the emergence of incurable diseases including smallpox; leading to not only the development of a plethora of vaccines but gave way to the controversy of vaccinations. Before vaccinations, incurable diseases swept through the world. Of these included yellow fever originating in 1650 and killing 30,000 people a year ("Yellow Fever." History of Vaccines RSS.). Along with yellow fever were Measles (originated 1657), diphtheria (1826), and Polio (1779)(“History." Polio Today RSS.) All of these diseases killed an outrages number of people, thus prompting a need for vaccinations. However the widespread disease that influenced the first vaccinations was smallpox. The first recorded case of smallpox dates back to 1350BC. This epidemic plagued the world for thousands of years and killed 30% of the people who contracted it (History of Smallpox. “History of Vaccines”). Although 30% doesn’t sound like an extreme percentage, it was. For example, say 100% of the Texas population (26,448,193 people in 2013) contracted smallpox, it would kill off a total of almost eight million people ("United States Census Bureau."). In response to this extremely deadly disease inoculation was evolved and vaccines became available. The theory of inoculation was becoming very popular and many of the people exposed to the small fraction of the smallpox virus had survived. The National Center for Biotechnology Information records that a British doctor by the name of Edward Jenner discovered that dairymaids who had been exposed to a lesser form of the disease called “cowpox” were not contracting smallpox (Riedel, Stefan. “Smallpox”.) Jenner evolved his discovery into the first vaccination for smallpox by injecting people with an inactive form of the cowpox virus and later inoculating them with the harsh smallpox virus. Through the evolution of the cowpox vaccine, smallpox was eradicated. His revelation gave rise to the expansion of lab created vaccinations for diseases such as yellow fever, measles, and diphtheria. For example, according to The Official Website of the Noble Prize, “in 1901 the first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Emil von Behring, a German physiologist, for his work developing serum therapy in connection to a diphtheria vaccination.” (“The Founder of Serum Therapy”). Sciences were on the rise, as well as the knowledge of vaccines. As word spread throughout the world we see major social changes involving vaccinations, especially in schools. As vaccines became the norm, schools systems soon followed the trend. Boston Massachusetts was the first state to require, by law, that children have certain vaccinations before enrolling in school. With the knowledge, normality, and benefits of the vaccines also came some opposing factors.

As politics of vaccines begin to develop, people begin to subconsciously choose a side. According to ProCon.org “On July 1, 1902, Congress passed An Act to Regulate the Sale of Viruses, Serums, Toxins, and Analogous Products (also referred to as the Biologics Control Act)” (qtd. In All Timelines Overview). This act was the first lawful regulation on any type of drug or vaccine. The immunization laws created a wave of negativity from the National Anti-Compulsory Vaccination League. A NACV League “reporter stated "the dangerous illnesses following the vaccine process are… on the whole… a greater evil to humanity than small-pox itself! “” ("Vaccines ProCon.org.") (qtd. in Robert M. Wolfe’s Medical Journal). They believed “that it "is...

Cited: Robert M. Wolfe, "Anti-Vaccination Activists, Past and Present," British Medical Journal, Aug. 24, 2002
"United States Census Bureau." Texas QuickFacts from the US
"Vaccines ProCon.org." ProConorg Headlines. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2014.
"Yellow Fever." History of Vaccines RSS. The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2014.
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