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October 3, 1936


JAMA. 1936;107(14):1094-1097. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770400006002

On Saturday, May 14, 1796, just one hundred and forty years ago today, Dr. Edward Jenner performed his first vaccination against smallpox. It is fitting that we pay tribute on this date to this most successful of measures in specific disease prevention while we are considering the prevention of a disease in some respects similar and in some very different from the disease against which Jenner led the way. The slow development of Jenner's thoughts and work in his campaign may give us heart when we consider the present lack of effective control of poliomyelitis. Neither should we be discouraged if some of our steps are false. Jenner was badly mistaken in more than one regard, and the fierce devotion with which the friends of his procedure fought for every detail of his views has obscured the truth and hindered full prevention. The need for revaccination was combated by Jenner

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