The life and work of Edward Jenner

Edward Jenner tells the story of his life and how he discovered how to vaccinate people against smallpox. Told in the first person, and brought to life with a mix of drama, movement, music and animation, the story begins when Jenner was a boy. There was an outbreak of smallpox in the town where he lived. He was curious, and had to see for himself what someone with smallpox looked like – it was a frightening sight. More frightening still, however, was that the only known cure was to infect a person with smallpox before they caught it, in the hope that they would recover and not catch it again. So at the age of eight Jenner was given smallpox, deliberately. The experience had a huge impact on him and he vowed to find a way to beat the disease.

He grew up and became a doctor. When a milkmaid came to see him about a sore on her hand he knew it was cowpox. She claimed the cowpox would stop her getting smallpox. Jenner wanted to find out if there was truth in this notion, and it turned out there was! He went on to develop a vaccine for smallpox, which would ultimately save millions of lives.

Release date: 06 Mar 2012

12 minutes

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