Edward Jenner was a British doctor who was born on 17 May 1749, in Berkely, Gloucestershire, England.
Edward Jenner invented the vaccination for Smallpox. This disease was greatly feared at the time as it killed one in three of those who caught it and badly disfigured those who were lucky enough to survive catching it.
Jenner's vaccination meant that this killer disease was eradicated from the earth in 1979
The Smallpox was a highly contagious disease. Its victims had symptoms similar to the flu but with a rash of foul smelling, pus-filled blisters all over the body. This disease lead to blindness, pneumonia, and most often death.
Jenner was fascinated by the old wives tale that milkmaids could not get smallpox. He observed that his patients who worked with cattle and had come in contact with the much milder disease called cowpox never came down with smallpox.
Jenner believed that if he could inject someone with cowpox, the germs from the cowpox would make the body able to defend itself against the dangerous smallpox germs which he would inject later.
In May 1796 Jenner took some pus from cowpox blisters found on the hand of a milkmaid, and rubbed it into a few scratches made in the arm of James Phipps. James was the eight year old son of Jenner's gardener. An attempt was then made to infect the boy with smallpox, using the "mild" strains employed in those days to try and confer immunity without killing the patient. James proved immune to the virus.