Jenner and the Speckled Monster: The True History of Smallpox

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Smallpox, or “the speckled monster”, was the most feared disease of the 18th century. According to what we are told, the people of Europe at the time were helpless against smallpox until a young doctor named Edward Jenner observed that dairy maids who had previously contracted “cowpox” were immune from the disease. This led Jenner to develop a vaccine that was credited with ending the epidemic and eventually eradicating smallpox altogether. The romanticized tale of Jenner, the dairy maid, and the discovery of vaccination has gone down in the history books as one of the great triumphs of modern medicine.

Today, the mainstream medical establishment uses the example of smallpox as a means of promoting the safety and efficacy of vaccination against other “infectious” diseases. However, the truth is that the smallpox story is far more complex than the above fairy tale that is taught in schools. The true history of Jenner’s vaccine is not one of scientific genius or medical triumph, rather, it is the story of how the archaic practice of introducing toxic substances into the bloodstream as a means of “curing” disease was adopted into mainstream medical tradition.