Podcast 612: Origin of Vaccines - The Emergency Medical Minute

Podcast 612: Origin of Vaccines

Contributor: Dave Rosenberg, MD

Educational Pearls:

  • The potential of vaccinations was first observed in the late 1600s when Jenner observed people who had cowpox never contracted smallpox, so he inoculated people with cowpox to see if it prevented smallpox, and…
  • Years later, Louis Pasteur inoculated chickens with cholera after his assistant accidently created the first live attenuated vaccine by creating a weakened bacteria when he left the bacteria out while he went on vacation
  • Pasteur observed that exposing chickens to full strength cholera after the exposure with the weakened bacteria led to minimal or no ill effects


Stewart AJ, Devlin PM. The history of the smallpox vaccine. J Infect. 2006 May;52(5):329-34. doi: 10.1016/j.jinf.2005.07.021. Epub 2005 Sep 19. PMID: 16176833.

Hajj Hussein I, Chams N, Chams S, El Sayegh S, Badran R, Raad M, Gerges-Geagea A, Leone A, Jurjus A. Vaccines Through Centuries: Major Cornerstones of Global Health. Front Public Health. 2015 Nov 26;3:269. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2015.00269. PMID: 26636066; PMCID: PMC4659912.

Summarized by Jackson Roos, MS4 | Edited by Erik Verzemnieks, MD

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Stay up to date by
joining our mailing list!