A Brief History of Vaccination

Thomas Burkhead, MD
Thursday, February 3, 2022
Category: History of Infectious Diseases, Immunizations

Dr. Thomas Burkhead, infectious diseases fellow at the University of South Florida, reviews the history of vaccination. He begins by discussing the early history of variolation, perhaps the first technique for immunizing people against a contagious pathogen. He then reviews Edward Jenner and his experiments with cowpox that led to the first vaccine for smallpox. Next, the origins of the “Germ Theory” of infectious diseases is reviewed. Dr. Burkhead then discusses the research of Louis Pasteur and his success with Rabies vaccination. Next, the speaker contrasts innate and adaptive immunity, and explains passive immunization, adjuvants, and the history of development of the polio vaccine. Lastly, Dr. Burkhead reviews the vaccine advances in the latter half of the 20th century and early 21st century, including pneumococcal vaccines, recombinant vaccines, adenovirus vector vaccines, and the recent COVID-19 vaccines.

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