Edward Jenner was the first person to show how to inoculate safely against a deadly disease like smallpox. Edward was a village doctor when an epidemic of small pox broke out in 1796 in England. There ran an old wives’ tale which he also noticed to be true, that milkmaids who caught a less serious disease of cowpox never contracted smallpox. He decided to give a scientific backing to this idea through a very dangerous experiment. He collected some puss from the sores of one milkmaid with cowpox and got the puss into a local youth by scratching his arms and pouring the puss into it. The young man had a mild attack of cow pox. Six weeks later Edward did the same thing with the young man but this time with puss from a small pox pustule. The boy did not catch small pox. The technique was quickly perfected and his work erased the scourge of smallpox from Europe and subsequently from the calendar of human afflictions. This procedure of successfully fighting diseases was later named vaccination (after ‘vacca’ meaning cow) by Louis Pasteur. It has since been extended to eradicate many a diseases from the history of human sufferings.
Edward Jenner developed the first vaccinations by exposing individuals to a modified strain of the disease. He utilized cowpox as a vaccination for smallpox.
"In 1796, he carried out his now famous experiment on eight-year-old James Phipps. Jenner inserted pus taken from a cowpox pustule and inserted it into an incision on the boy's arm. He was testing his theory, drawn from the folklore of the countryside, that milkmaids who suffered the mild disease of cowpox never contracted smallpox, one of the greatest killers of the period, particularly among children. Jenner subsequently proved that having been inoculated with cowpox Phipps was immune to smallpox. He submitted a paper to the Royal Society in 1797 describing his experiment, but was told that his ideas were too revolutionary and that he needed more proof. Undaunted, Jenner experimented on several other children, including his own 11-month-old son. In 1798, the results were finally published and Jenner coined the word vaccine from the Latin 'vacca' for cow."