Should Vaccination be the Subject to Parents’ Free Choice? Recollections of the Vaccination Origins
; J. Zeman
Klinika dětského a dorostového lékařství VFN a UK 1. LF, Praha
přednosta prof. MUDr. J. Zeman, DrSc.
Čes-slov Pediat 2007; 62 (10): 586-589.
Epidemics of smallpox have become unforgettable disasters in the history of men. Variolization, an attempt to prevent smallpox infection by inoculation of pus from infected patients was used in Europe since the beginning of 18th century, but it was frequently complicated by adverse events resulting in severe course of the disease, scarring or even death. Several men tried to solve the problem of variolization including Benjamin Jesty in 1774, who immunized his wife and children with suppurating material from cowpox. Independently since 1796, Edward Jenner used successfully cowpox blisters pus from the hands of milkmaids for inoculation in 23 persons and he called this new method vaccination (from lat. vacca – cow). The first attempt in Prague was provided by Karl Bauer. The land government contributed significantly to the extent of the vaccination in 1812, when mandatory vaccination was introduced in Bohemia. Due to vaccination smallpox mortality fell down from 2174 per million between 1777 and 1806 to 215 per million between 1807 and 1850. Information about the vaccination was spread not only by the physicians and teachers, but also by the police and church. In addition to these measures the land government tried through relatively strict law, financial and moral sanctions, to solve the still persisting problem – the negative attitude of some parents to vaccination of their children.
variola, variolisation, vaccination
General practitioner for children and adolescents