From ArticleWorld

An vaccination is the administration of an antigen or antigens from a pathogenic microorganism that confers immunity to the disease from the microbe from which the antigen was derived. Sometimes the vaccination is given orally, while other times it is injected into an individual. Many vaccinations are given before the individual has been exposed to the disease but in some conditions, like chickenpox, an individual can receive the vaccine as soon as they are exposed so that they are less likely to develop the disease or develop a milder form.


Edward Jenner, who first developed a smallpox vaccine in 1796, called his discovery a “vaccination” because the first vaccines were derived from cows and the Latin term for “cow” is “vacca”. Much later Louis Pasteur adopted the term during his pioneering work in vaccinations.

As mention, the first true vaccination was developed in 1796; however, the concept of inoculating someone against disease is believed to have originated in either India or China around 200 B.C. Edward Jenner discovered that those that were exposed to and developed cowpox were also immune to smallpox. It was later determined that the diseases are a result of related microorganisms. Louis Pasteur was able to refine the technique of giving vaccinations to fight diseases such as rabies and anthrax.

The first disease targeted for worldwide eradication was smallpox. This involved vaccinating as many people of the world as possible. The result was the eradication of smallpox in 1977. The next targeted disease was polio which, while not yet eradicated, is very close to being wiped out on a worldwide basis. In addition, while common measles is quite rare, attempts to eradicate it are believed to be underway by the World Health Organization.

Vaccination programs

In many countries, including the U.S. and the U.K., immunizations are regulated by law. Children must receive a series of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccinations, measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations, polio vaccinations, vaccinations against Hemophilus infections and Hepatitis B vaccinations as a requirement for entrance into school. Such programs have greatly reduced the incidence of these diseases.

Other immunizations, such as the chicken pox vaccination is recommended but not required. For required immunizations, parents can sign a waver indicating conscientious objection due to religious reasons, safety issues, etc. and avoid the immunization requirements.