Ped-O-Jet mass inoculation gun, United States, 1970-1975
Developed in the 1960s, inoculation guns were used to vaccinate large numbers of people very quickly – up to a thousand people could be treated every hour. Instead of using a needle, the vaccine was forced through the skin at high pressures created using a foot pump. However, the Ped-O-Jet was expensive and needed regular maintenance, which was not always available. Initially seen as a major weapon in the drive to eradicate smallpox globally, the guns were eventually replaced in favour of simple bifurcated needles. Most mass inoculation guns of this type would later be withdrawn because of concerns about cross infection. This example was made by Scientific Equipment Manufacturing Corporation.
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The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.
Glossary: inoculation gun
A substance given to humans or animals to improve immunity from disease. A vaccine can sometimes contain a small amount of bacteria that is designed to stimulate the body's reaction to that particular disease. The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner to prevent smallpox.
Glossary: materia medica
A Latin medical term sometimes used to refer to medical substances.