17th November 2009 1

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Jenner’s discovery-causes and consequences

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Edward Jenner discovered that inoculation with cowpox gave immunity to smallpox. 2) The printing press helped Jenner a lot as he was able to spread his ideas quickly and efficiently through this. Another development that helped Jenner immensely is that people started to make discoveries of their own and deviate from standardised teachings and beliefs. Because of this Jenner was able to reach a wider range of people. Source 3 shows that Jenner’s discovery had a lot of impact in gradually reducing death from Smallpox. Vaccination was evidently seen as worthy of having its own laws made as it was successful in preventing disease. Deaths were dramatically reduced after the epidemic in the 19th century. After this they began to slowly reduce even more as more people felt comfortable with vaccination. Also, Jenner’s methods also had an impact on famous scientists such as Pasteur leading to further successful discoveries.
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There were many factors that contributed towards beating smallpox. Attitudes/beliefs, Science, communication methods, individual genius and the Government all played individual roles in combating this disease.
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Due to individuals such as Galileo, methods of observation and experimentation had been passed down and were used by people such as Jenner. Jenner was trained in scientific enquiry and experiment. He used both experiments and observation to come to a conclusion. Through observation of dairymaids he came up with an experiment and carefully recorded his findings on James Phipps. This shows how attitudes towards Science and the work of individuals played a role in defeating Smallpox. Because of Jenner’s individual genius he was able to make a link between cowpox and smallpox. He was quick to realise that inserting a tiny amount of the disease cowpox prevented the smallpox. He was unique in doing so as no-one else had actually experimented and spread the idea. This shows how he as an individual played a role in helping to defeat smallpox. The printing press was an important invention that helped Jenner to communicate his discovery to a large number of people. This meant that vaccination could be carried out quicker to prevent upcoming epidemics of Smallpox. People were also more willing to share ideas and challenge established one making it easier for Jenner to reach out to more people. The Government also helped greatly towards reducing the impact of smallpox. They took on Jenner’s discovery and made Vaccination open to the public. They

17th November 2009

Jenner’s discovery-causes and consequences

H/L

made it compulsory thus making sure that the majority of the public could be free from the disease ultimately reducing the impact of epidemics. In conclusion there were a number of factors that contributed towards defeating smallpox. Individuals were at the root of this and large bodies such as Governments helped to put the discoveries into practical use. They did not remain a theory due to this and actually were put into good use unlike discoveries in the Renaissance, a time when discoveries remained only theories and did not help to combat disease. However ideas from the Renaissance contributed towards fighting smallpox.
5) Vaccination was not compulsory for many years in England. It remained

voluntary until 1852 when Vaccination became compulsory but even so, was not strictly enforced. However after a bad epidemic vaccination was made strictly compulsory from 1872-1887. This shows vaccination was only enforced when an outbreak of disease, killing millions of people took place. It shows how before this the Government obviously did not know of the importance of vaccination before this and that this was the main factor in making vaccination strictly compulsory. The sudden jolt in death meant that the Government had to do something to prevent such great loss. They had to be more stringent regarding vaccination. Before the epidemic people were doubtful towards the vaccination and some just did not care about it leading to less people being vaccinated. After the epidemic something had to be done to make sure that more people were vaccinated and therefore strict laws had to be introduced.