Edward Jenner facts

Edward Anthony Jenner
  • Edward Jenner was an English physician who discovered a vaccine to prevent smallpox.
  • Jenner, the son of a minister, was born on May 17, 1749 in Berkeley, England.
  • Smallpox is such a rare disease now that it is hard to realize that during the Middle Ages it was the cause of horrible epidemics throughout Europe.
  • Not only was the death rate high, but those who lived through such epidemics were permanently scarred with ugly pockmarks. Many were left blind.
  • His alma mater was St George's, University of London
  • After receiving his med­ical education, Jenner returned to Berkeley where he became interested in the popular belief that people who had had cowpox, a mild disease contracted from cattle, could not get the deadly smallpox. This was not always true, because, as he discovered, only one of the two types of cowpox could protect. 
  • Jenner had a chance to actually test the belief when a dairymaid with cowpox came to him. He injected fluid from the cowpox pustules into a healthy, young. Two months later he injected smallpox fluid into the same boy who did not develop the dread disease. This achievement started a national vaccine program which today is universal. The basic idea is used to protect against many diseases.
  • Edward Jenner is sometimes referred to as the "Father of Immunology"
  • Jenner died on January 26, 1823 (aged 73)
  • Jenner's works have been said to have "saved more lives than the work of any other man".