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Prize certificate for vaccination, Rouen, France, 1830-1880

Not much is known about this certificate. Issued in Rouen, France, the title of the certificate translates as “Prize for Vaccinates” and probably refers to the large numbers of people a doctor or ‘special vaccinator’ vaccinated against disease, most likely smallpox. In France, smallpox vaccination was not compulsory until 1902.

Object number:

A654537

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Glossary:

Glossary: certificate

Documents giving authoritative recognition of a fact, qualification, or promise

Glossary: vaccination

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: smallpox

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.

Glossary: vaccine

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.