Smallpox Vaccine

“The Smallpox vaccine, introduced by Edward Jenner in 1796, was the first successful vaccine to be developed. He observed that milkmaids who previously had caught cowpox did not catch Smallpox and showed that inoculated vaccinia protected against inoculated variola virus.”

Poster published by the World Health Organization at Geneva, Switzerland, after the declaration of the eradication of smallpox on Earth, May 8, 1980. 

Smallpox was fatal in up to 30% of cases. Smallpox has existed for at least 3,000 years and was one of the world’s most feared diseases until it was eradicated by a collaborative global vaccination programme led by the World Health Organization. The last known natural case was in Somalia in 1977.

Unlike most other vaccines Smallpox vaccine is not given with a needle and syringe. It is given using a two pronged needle, dipped into the vaccine solution and then used to prick the skin several times to deliver vaccine into the shallow layers of the skin. Fortunately we no longer need to vaccinate against Smallpox