The First Vaccines and the History of Measles

Topics: Measles

Vaccinations are one of the greatest inventions that has ever been made in the medical field. Vaccines are used to help combat illness. They have helped people for over 200 years, saving many lives every single year. There have been people that have decided to go against vaccines. The reason many people don’t vaccinate is due to Thiomersal, which is a type of mercury found in many vaccinations, and thinking that is causes autism. Although Thiomersal has been found not to cause autism, some people still think that it does.

Thimerosal was pulled from vaccinations, as the FDA feared people wouldn’t get shots due to the fear of contracting autism.

The first vaccine that was made was the smallpox vaccine in 1796 by a man of the name Edward Jenner.​ Jenner resided in Berkley, England, and was a country doctor.

He took pus from a cowpox lesion that was on a milkmaid’s hand and inserted the pus into an eight-year-old boy, James Philipps.

James’s parents were very poor and allowed Jenner to attempt his vaccination on him. During the following days, James developed a fever but got better. Seeing as James got better, Jenner infected him with smallpox. He didn’t get sick and remained healthy. Showing this as a success, Jenner then went on for two years to test his vaccines on poor people. ​ ​JJenner’sassertion “that cowpox protects the human constitution from the infection of smallpox” laid the foundation of modern vaccinology. He then went on to publish ​Ian’s inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccine, ​to show off his method of vaccinations.

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​ ​People went on to make fun of him thinking that his idea of vaccinations was mad, making cartoons mocking him. He didn’t let that get him down, as he went on to have a very successful medical career. Jenner passed away on January 26, 1823, from a stroke.

Measles is another highly contagious disease that is similar to smallpox. Measles causes sores and rashes on the skin. It was commonly found in Asia, Europe, and North Africa, until 1492 when Christopher Columbus and his crew arrived in the Americas to bring many deadly diseases, including measles.​ ​Since there was no immunity to any diseases, it killed tons of people. It wasn’t until 1912 that U.S physicians started to research the disease.​ ​“A study in the U.S from 1912 to 1916 found 26 deaths for every 1,000 measles cases.​” ​ In 1963 the first measles vaccines were licensed for public use.

The lethality rate vigorously dropped with less than one death per 1,000 cases. Over 15 million kids in the U.S were given the vaccine in 1963. ​“Some 11.7 million doses of measles vaccines were distributed in 1967-1968, and the estimated number of cases of measles fell from 900,000 to 250,000.”​ ​Since the time the vaccine has been out, there have been many outbreaks until up to 2013, as the disease has since been almost tamed. Measles isn’t as common as it used to be, due to all the medicine that is available as a society.

Vaccinations are one of the greatest things that have ever happened in the medical field. With all the modern medicine that we have today, it is easier to have access to vaccinations for different diseases.​ From smallpox and measles, we have to be thankful we weren’t born in the era where these diseases roamed freely.

Works Cited

  1. Affelt, Stacia. ‘5 Myths About the Flu Vaccine: Explora Secondary Schools.’ ​EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page​,
  2. Hendriks, Jan, and Stuart Blume. ‘MEASLES VACCINATION: Before the Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine.: Explora Secondary Schools.’ ​EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page​,
  3. Makwana, Ashley, et al. ‘Rapid Spread of Pneumococcal Non-Vaccine Serotype 7C Previously Associated W…: Explora Secondary Schools.’ ​EBSCO Publishing Service Selection Page​,
  4. Nardo, Don. ​Vaccines​. Lucent Books, 2002, Stern, Alexandra M., and Howard Markel. ‘The History Of Vaccines And Immunization: Familiar Patterns, New Challenges.’ ​Health Affairs​, 1 May 2005,

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The First Vaccines and the History of Measles. (2022, Aug 12). Retrieved from

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