The creator of the first vaccine, Edward Jenner, was a physician and scientist born in 1749 in Berkeley, England, said PAHO Assistant Director, Dr. Socorro Gross, during the celebration of the anniversary of the smallpox eradication.
Jenner noted that the women who milked cows developed smallpox with less frequency. Smallpox was one of the most feared diseases at the time: it killed millions without distinction by age or status.
The English physician proposed the hypothesis that the secretion of vesicles of smallpox of the cow was what protected the women that milked. In May 1796, he proved its hypothesis, inoculating a 8 year-old child. The effect was fever and discomfort but not severe disease. Months later, the child did not present the disease. It remained immunized. Jenner made the test then with others 23 people, with the same results. As the inoculation was done from the cow therefore the term vaccination was born.
Jenner died in January 1826, at age 76.