Sunday, September 20, 2009

Book Review : Jenner's Publication on Vaccination against smallpox

This book is a useful compilation of Jenner’s work concerning inoculation against smallpox. With Jenner’s three articles is one place you easily see how he developed his ideas and tested his observations surrounding smallpox. It is important to note that the scientific approach to thinking that is evident in these pages was somewhat of an anomaly in this 18th century era. Jenner provides a lot of evidence to support his theories connecting cowpox and smallpox. He describes in sufficient detail for the numerous case studies which he performed. Although it is a scientific set of papers, it reads like a simple, logical story unlike today’s scientific literature laden with specific jargon. In addition to the scientific aspect, Jenner also finds ways to make reference to those who are skeptical of his work. It is interesting to have a glimpse into the mind of a man who developed a novel way to prevent the “severest scourge of the human race”. Jenner seems to have had an inkling about the magnitude of his work as he was “ encouraged by the hope of its becoming essentially beneficial to mankind.” For anyone studying medical or scientific history, these original texts are a must read as the development of vaccines is key to preventative medicine today.

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