Edward Jenner’s discovery that smallpox could be prevented by prior inoculation with the harmless cowpox in 1796 has often been hailed as the greatest medical advance of all time. This first ‘vaccination’, a term coined later by Louis Pasteur, became a widespread public health measure in the early 20th Century and led to the global eradication of smallpox in 1977 after a prolonged and coordinated international vaccination campaign, interestingly, unaffected by the Cold War rivalries of the time. It should not be forgotten that smallpox killed 300 million people in the 20th Century alone. Other vaccination programmes have also been very successful. The global eradication of polio by vaccination is near completion and infectious diseases once common in the Western World, including mumps, measles, and rubella are now regarded as rarities or absent altogether. Vaccines have brought at least seven major human diseases under control − smallpox, diphtheria, tetanus, yellow fever, whooping cough, polio, and measles.
|Translated title of the contribution||The BSI and Vaccination|
|Publisher||British Society for Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2011|