Vaccination, also called active immunization, is "administration of vaccines to stimulate the host's immune response. This includes any preparation intended for active immunological prophylaxis." Vaccination is a preventative health measure that can confer active immunity to an infectious disease, without requiring that the vaccinated individual actually contract the disease. Usually, this is carried out by inoculation with a vaccine - either a weakened form of the infectious agent (called a live vaccine) or a portion of the infectious agent, like an outer coat or internal proteins (called a killed vaccine) is introduced into the body of the individual to be protected. The immune system of that individual responds to the vaccine and, if that response is adequate, exposure to the germ will not result in sickness.
History of vaccination
"Edward Jenner vaccinated James Phipps in 1796 with cowpox obtained from a pustule on the hand of the milkmaid, Sarah Nelmes." Later, he purposefully inoculated Phipps with a scab from a smallpox lesion. He did so having thought out a rational plan for why this act might confer protection, and, fortunately, Phipps did not contract the smallpox. Jenner went on to further investigate vaccination as a means to prevent disease, publishing his work, and so has become credited as the inventor of vaccination. However, other individuals used cowpox to inoculate family members against smallpox even before Jenner, and an understanding of the immunity conferred by infectious diseases to subsequent exposure can be traced back for at least 1500 years before Jenner's birth.
Variolation, the practice of inhalation of, or scarification with, dried and powdered smallpox pustules, had been in use since ad 1000 in China,later in the Middle East, and made popular in Europe in Jenner’s day by Lady Mary Wortley Montague (1689–1762).
Jenner E. An Inquiry Into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, a Disease Discovered in Some of the Western Counties of England, Particularly Gloucestershire, and Known by the Name of the Cow Pox. London: Sampson Low, 1798.
- Anonymous (2023), Vaccination (English). Medical Subject Headings. U.S. National Library of Medicine.
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- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1011) Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule --- United States, 2011
- Immunization Schedules on the Web. In: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. Atkinson W, Wolfe S, Hamborsky J, McIntyre L, eds. 11th ed. Washington DC: Public Health Foundation, 2009
- Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) (2011 [last update]). Immunization of Health-Care Personnel. cdc.gov. Retrieved on November 29, 2011.
- Immunization of Immunocompromised Patients Table. In: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. Atkinson W, Wolfe S, Hamborsky J, McIntyre L, eds. 11th ed. Washington DC: Public Health Foundation, 2009