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Framed poster advocating vaccination against smallpox, England, 1923

This poster appeared as an article in The Times on 25 July 1923. A smallpox epidemic had been raging in Gloucester, England, and the surrounding areas since the autumn of 1922. The medical correspondent for The Times wrote a month earlier that the outbreak “need never have occurred if the population availed itself of vaccination. Few more lamentable demonstrations of the evil effects of a stupid and mischievous propaganda have ever been afforded.” Here the writer is referring to the campaigns against smallpox vaccination. Some people doubted the safety of the vaccine and believed it to cause more damage to the body than the actual disease.

Object number:

A604013

 

Glossary:

Glossary: poster

Notice, usually printed on paper, intended to be posted to advertise, promote, or publicise an activity, cause, product, or service; also, decorative, mass-produced prints intended for hanging.

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: epidemic

A sudden widespread occurance of an infection with high numbers of people affected.

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.