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'Med-E-Jet' inoculation gun, United States, 1980

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The gun can give vaccinations against diseases such as smallpox without using a needle, piercing the skin using high pressures. The gold cylinder contains carbon dioxide to supply the pressure. The vaccine is placed in the white holder at the top. Each vaccination took 65 seconds. One of the disadvantages of the gun is that it is expensive and needs maintenance. The injection head also needed to be sterilised either by boiling or autoclaving at the end of every day.

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    Glossary: vaccination

    The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

    Glossary: autoclave

    A machine used to sterilise instruments or materials with high pressure and heat or pressurised steam.

    Glossary: inoculation gun

    No description.

    Glossary: sterilisation

    To make an object free of live bacteria or other micro-organisms. Usually achieved by heat or chemical means.

    Glossary: smallpox

    Smallpox is an infectious virus unique to humans. It results in a characteristic skin rash and fluid-filled blisters. After successful vaccination campaigns throughout the 1800s and 1900s, the World Health Organisation certified the eradication of smallpox in 1979. Smallpox is the only human infectious disease to have been completely wiped out.

    Glossary: vaccine

    A substance given to humans or animals to improve immunity from disease. A vaccine can sometimes contain a small amount of bacteria that is designed to stimulate the body's reaction to that particular disease. The first vaccine was developed in 1796 by Edward Jenner to prevent smallpox.