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Dried smallpox vaccine, Switzerland, 1980-1981

The smallpox vaccine pictured is an example of a single-dose dried vaccine. Its brand name is ‘Lancy-Vaxina’ and it was made by the Swiss Serum Vaccine Institute. The strain of virus used for this vaccine was grown and gathered from the skin of a sheep infected with smallpox. The vaccine was administered by scratch technique. The smallpox vaccine was created for the Department of Health and Social Security (DHSS) in London, England.

Object number:

1987-955/18 Pt1

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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.