COVID-19 has now been with us for almost a year. It has been a long, hard year for many and definitely a year all of us will remember. We'll certainly remember how fast toilet paper and Clorox wipes disappeared off store shelves; how face masks became the most popular and controversial accessory; and, how we were able to turn homes into a combination of offices, schools, gyms, dance studios and much more. With cases surging across the nation, many of us were excited to hear about the possibility of a vaccination on the near horizons, a light at the end of the tunnel. There are many questions surrounding the arrival of the vaccine for COVID19; as there should be, for science is based on questioning, theorizing, experimenting, failing and succeeding. A new vaccine is a cause for concern, but it is also a cause of celebration. Vaccinations have helped save and lengthen human lives around the world and are one of the greatest achievements in medicine. Let us take a look at a condensed history of vaccinations.
Smallpox is one of the deadliest diseases in our world's history with outbreaks affecting millions across the globe. Early written descriptions of inoculation against smallpox were found in both China and India. Inoculation of smallpox played an important role in the history of the U.S.; during the Revolutionary War, George Washington feared his troops would be wiped out from the dreadful disease and had them all inoculated with smallpox, which saved many lives. Not too long after the Revolutionary War, a doctor named Edward Jenner inserted pus from a cowpox pustule into a boy's arm which helped to create immunity against smallpox. Jenner named his discovery "vaccine" from the Latin word "vacca" for cow. To read more about Edward Jenner click on this link: Britannica: Edward Jenner. Hundreds of years later, smallpox has been eradicated from the world.
A History of Vaccinations
For more information about the history of vaccinations, watch this Nova video provided by PBS. Also included, is a video about the announcement of the success of the polio vaccine.
With the COVID-19 vaccination now being distributed in the U.K. and being prepared to be distributed in the U.S. in the next couple of weeks, there are many questions that all of us have about the vaccine. Some of these questions are: who gets vaccinated first?; what are the side effects?; how effective is it?; when will we see real changes in the number infected?; and, many more. To find the best answers to these questions and more, please be sure to seek information from reputable sites. Below are links to the CDC and Mayo Clinic about the vaccination for COVID-19.