Download This Sample
This sample is exclusively for KidsKonnect members!
To download this worksheet, click the button below to signup for free (it only takes a minute) and you'll be brought right back to this page to start the download!
Sign Me Up
Table of Contents
Edward Jenner was an English surgeon who pioneered the concept of vaccination and created the vaccine for smallpox, the world’s first-ever vaccine. He helped save countless lives by stopping the spread of the greatest killer in the world at the time. He is considered the Father of Immunology.
See the fact file below for more information on Edward Jenner or alternatively, you can download our 28-page Edward Jenner worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
- On May 17, 1749, Edward Jenner was born in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, England.
- He was the eighth child of the nine children of Reverend Stephen Jenner, Vicar of Berkeley, and his wife, Sarah. His parents died when Jenner was only five and he went to live with his older brother. Edward developed a love of science and nature during his youth.
- He received his primary education at Katharine Lady Berkeley’s School in Wotton-under-Edge. He was inoculated for smallpox during this time, which generally affected his health.
- From the ages of 14–21, he became apprenticed in surgery and anatomy under surgeon Daniel Ludlow where he obtained most of his experience to become a surgeon himself.
- In 1770, he again became an apprentice in surgery and anatomy under surgeon and experimentalist John Hunter at St. George’s Hospital. Hunter supposedly advised Jenner “Don’t think, try,” which became famous in the medical community. The two became lifelong friends.
- Three years later, Jenner returned to his hometown in Berkeley to practice medicine as a family doctor and general surgeon.
- In 1792, he earned his Medical Degree from the University of St. Andrews. With his interest in the advancement of the study of angina pectoris, he wrote, “how much the heart must suffer from the coronary aeries not being able to perform their functions.”
DEVELOPING THE FIRST VACCINE
- During his apprenticeship with Daniel Ludlow, he overheard a young woman say that she would not be infected with smallpox because she already had cowpox. Cowpox had relatively milder symptoms and was less contagious than smallpox. It induced Jenner to research this information.
- Smallpox was considered the deadliest disease in the 18th century. Inoculation for smallpox was the only known primary treatment, but there was a risk that the patient often contracted the full disease followed by a tragic result.
- The smallpox inoculation or variolation was introduced and campaigned for by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu in Europe. She had her daughter the first to be publicly inoculated in Britain to prove that it was safe and effective.
- Lady Montagu also wrote an article under a pseudonym favoring variolation (a method of inoculation).
- Despite the method resulting in a small number of deaths and complications, she convinced several people, including Catherine the Great of Russia, Caroline, Princess of Wales, and other Royal families.
- When Jenner noticed that patients who worked with cattle and contracted cowpox resisted the smallpox disease, he had the idea of inoculating with a milder infection instead of the more severe smallpox.
- In 1796, Jenner experimented with his theory on an eight-year-old boy, James Phipps, his gardener’s son. He made two cuts in James’ arm and introduced a small amount of cowpox pus that came from a dairymaid, Sarah Nelmes.
- It resulted in a slight fever, but the boy recovered a few days later. He repeated the experiment by injecting smallpox matter, and the boy remained healthy. He called the process vaccination after the Latin word for cow, vaccinia.
- He carried out more tests that proved his experiment was successful and published his findings in 1800 in a booklet: “An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, a Disease Known by the Name of Cow Pox.”
REACTION TO THE FIRST VACCINE
- The medical community and the general public did not initially support Jenner’s breakthrough. They became fearful of the possible consequences of receiving matter that originated from cows.
- They also opposed it on religious grounds stating that they refused to be treated with substances from God’s lowlier creatures. Jenner went to London to seek volunteers for his vaccination but was unsuccessful.
- A satirical cartoon in 1802 was published showing vaccinated people sprouting cow’s heads.
- As for the medical community, they were hesitant about Jenner’s discovery because cowpox did not occur widely, and if the doctors wanted to test the new process, they had to get the substance from Jenner.
- More people became interested when doctors George Pearson and William Woodville, who Jenner gave some inoculants, popularized the vaccination.
- Jenner’s discovery had proved its value. He actively campaigned for it until the procedure spread to America, the rest of Europe and around the world.
- Jenner dealt with numerous issues while vaccination was gaining popularity. Pearson tried to take the credit from Jenner, and Woodville, a doctor in a smallpox hospital, contaminated the cowpox matter with the smallpox virus.
- As the vaccination was still new and despite the simplicity of the procedure, a vast number of individuals who performed the vaccination did not follow Jenner’s recommended technique.
- They deliberately made innovations that impaired the vaccines’ effectiveness. The pure cowpox vaccine could not easily be obtained, preserved, or transmitted. Jenner developed a technique to transport the cowpox by drying it onto threads or glass.
- The limitation of the study on the biological factors that produce immunity also became an issue. Much research and information gathering needed to be done before a fully effective procedure could be developed.
- However, despite errors and occasional blunders, the smallpox death rate significantly dropped.
- Jenner received worldwide recognition and honor for his discovery but remained inconspicuous throughout his life. He continued to devote so much time to campaigning for vaccines that his private practice and personal life suffered. He even called himself the ‘Vaccine Clerk to the World.’
- The discovery of the vaccine and its promotion helped eradicate the deadliest disease. His work in developing the smallpox vaccine is widely regarded as the foundation of immunology.
- After a systematic implementation of smallpox immunization in the 18th–20th centuries, on May 8, 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly officially declared that the world and its people had won their freedom from smallpox.
- Not only did Edward Jenner’s invention result in immunity to smallpox, but his work was also the first scientific attempt to control infectious diseases through vaccination.
- When he returned to Berkeley to practice medicine, he also pursued his study of native wildlife. He became the founder and president of the Cheltenham Literary and Philosophical Society.
- In March 1788, Jenner married Catherine Kingscote, daughter of Anthony Kingscote, owner of the Kingscote Park at Gloucestershire. The two had three children, Edward Robert, Robert Fitzharding, and Catherine.
- Jenner was also elected fellow of the Royal Society in 1788 after he published a careful study of the previously misunderstood life of the nested cuckoo.
- His interest in zoology helped in his experiments with inoculation. During his lifetime, there was little to no information about human-animal-trans-species boundaries in disease transmission.
- His family lived a happy life but was marred by the death of young Edward from tuberculosis in 1810, the same disease that would cause the untimely death of Jenner’s wife in 1815.
- Jenner’s health suffered when he reached middle age. He also had bouts of depression due to the death of his son and later his wife.
- On January 26, 1823, Jenner died from a stroke at his home, The Chantry, Berkeley, and was buried in Berkeley Parish Church on February 3.
Edward Jenner Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle that includes everything you need to know about Edward Jenner across 28 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about Edward Jenner who was an English surgeon who pioneered the concept of vaccination and created the vaccine for smallpox, the world’s first-ever vaccine.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Edward Jenner Facts
- The Doctor’s Bio
- Discovering the Vaccine
- The Jenner Inquiry
- Vaccination Challenges
- Success and Sorrow
- Jenner: Fact or Bluff
- Getting the Shot
- Jenner’s Discovery
- Vaccination Cartoon
- The Doctor’s Speech
Link/cite this page
If you reference any of the content on this page on your own website, please use the code below to cite this page as the original source.
Link will appear as Edward Jenner Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, January 27, 2022
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.