Edward Jenner (1749 to 1823), an English doctor, is regarded as the founding father of vaccinations. For years Jenner observed that milkers who were infected with cowpox, which is not dangerous for humans, did not contract cowpox or only a slight case of it. He applied this knowledge for a risky human experiment: In 1796 Jenner extracted a couple of drops of fluid from the tiny blisters of cowpox that Sarah Nelmes, who was a milker, had on her hands. He then dribbled the fluid into a tiny cut on eight-year-old James Philips’ hand. After the blisters that are typical for cowpox had healed, Jenner transferred the fluid of real cowpox blisters. The boy did not show any symptoms of falling ill. He remained immune against the cowpox even when Jenner repeated the experiment. It was not until he repeated the experiment on his own son that there was damage. His son’s intellectual development suddenly ceased after the vaccination and he died when he turned 21. Another child died shortly after the vaccination and a woman who was eight months pregnant who had been vaccinated by him had a stillborn child.
At the end of his life Jenner was plagued by doubts whether he had not created something terrible by inventing vaccinations. However, this method of vaccinating spread rapidly throughout Europe due to the fact that the people were so terrified of smallpox that they accepted every new method without really testing it. Vaccinations took the place of variolation, a way of vaccinating people that was wide spread throughout the Orient and China. In 1718 the English writer Lady Wortley-Montagu brought the concept of varioloation back with her to Europe. She had had her son vaccinated this way in Turkey and introduced the procedure at the English Court. Variolation (variola = Latin word for pox) consisted of transferring to healthy people pus drawn from patients who had contracted light cases of the pox with the help of a needle – a risky undertaking. The vaccination was performed despite the fact that many people died from these vaccinations and the contracted even more grave damages (intellectual and physical disabilities) from these vaccinations. But this was not talked about at the time. The vaccination also did not offer sufficient protection. How otherwise can the huge pox epidemic of 1870 be explained seeing that the whole population had been vaccinated against the pox!
The incidences of pox that appeared in Germany after the Second World War are presumably all due to the pox vaccination itself. This is also a fact that people do not like to talk about.
If you would like to know more about the history of pox vaccinations I would recommend the book “Vaccination: A Business Based on Fear” by Gerhard Buchwald