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Often characterized as a ground-breaking and well-integrated innovation, the smallpox vaccine encountered popular apprehension and resistance at the turn of the nineteenth century. Prior contemporary accounts relegate the bulk of England’s vaccination resistance movement in this period to the late nineteenth century, ignoring vocalized resistances in the technology’s first few decades. Additionally, whatever discussion exists of vaccination in the early-nineteenth century is progressive in tone, praising Jenner for developing a technology that would later eradicate smallpox in 1980. Scientific publications and archived parliamentary debates of the early 1800s reveal a fragmented consensus concerning vaccination value.


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19 Jul 2022
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  • Alternative title
    • “A Splendid Delusion:” Reassessing Vaccination in England, 1796-1853

  • Journal title
    • International Social Science Review

  • Volume
    • 95

  • Issue
    • 3

  • Date submitted

    19 July 2022

  • Keywords
  • Additional information
    • Acknowledgements:

      Kaitlyn Akel holds a B.A. in History and a B.S. in Biology from the University of Arkansas, and is currently a MPH candidate at the University of Michigan School of Public Health.