Medal commemorating smallpox vaccinations, France, 1830-1840
French doctors were awarded this medal for the number of smallpox vaccinations they had given, an outcome that shows the importance attached to vaccination programmes. In France, smallpox vaccination was not compulsory until 1902 – nearly fifty years after Britain. The Latin inscription Ex Insperato Salus means “Health from the Unexpected”. Alexis Joseph Depaulis (1792-1867), a French artist, designed this medal.
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Small pieces of metal, usually gold, silver, or bronze, bearing a relief design on one or both sides and having a commemorative purpose; not used as a medium of exchange. Medals may also be created to commemorate individuals or events or even as works of artistic expression in their own right.
Use for items produced, issued, or worn to commemorate a person, event, or occasion. For structures erected to preserve the memory of persons or events, use "memorials."
Smallpox is an infectious virus unique to humans. It results in a characteristic skin rash and fluid-filled blisters. After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 1800s and 1900s, the World Health Organisation certified the eradication of smallpox in 1979. Smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely wiped out.