It shows two children, infected with smallpox. On the left, the child who has not been vaccinated is covered with pustules. To his right, the vaccinated child is hardly affected by the disease.
Sometimes accused by some of being a montage, the photo is nevertheless very authentic. It was taken by Dr Allan Warner, of Leicester Isolation Hospital, and published in the Atlas of Clinical Medicine, Surgery, and Pathology in 1901. A caption accompanies the photo: “Shows two children, both 13 years old. The one on the right was vaccinated during childhood, the other was not. They were both infected from the same source on the same day. Note that the one on the left is in a fully pustular stage of the disease, while the one on the right has only one or two pimples that have already dried and formed scabs.“.
Disease eradicated by vaccine
It was thanks to a worldwide vaccination campaign led by the WHO that smallpox was pronounced in 1980. Considered one of the worst fatal diseases in history, smallpox is said to have killed more than half a billion people. Indeed, no effective treatment could be found. It is thanks to the vaccine, developed in 1798 by Doctor Edward Jenner, that the number of people affected by the disease was able to decrease. It is estimated that the smallpox vaccine has saved the lives of 150 to 200 million people since its inception.
Remember also that, each year, vaccination prevents 2 to 3 million deaths due to diseases such as diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, influenza and measles.
As for the coronavirus, vaccination is seen by many experts as the only way to contain the epidemic. According to the motivation barometer produced by several Belgian universities, nearly 77% of the population indicated that they wanted to be vaccinated. A reassuring figure since for a vaccination campaign to be considered successful, approximately 70% of the population must be vaccinated.