Smallpox Vaccine: Origins of Vaccine Madness

Jennifer Craig, BSN, MA, Ph.D

February 26, 2010

Somewhere in medical education the idea that smallpox was eradicated by a vaccine took hold in students’ heads and has remained there ever since. Would that more accurate information endure with such persistence? Even physicians who have explored vaccination continue to believe that the injection of pus from a cowpox sore prevented smallpox. For example, Cave and Mitchell, in What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Vaccinations, on page 10, say, ‘A more scientific approach was used in the late eighteenth century when Edward Jenner, who discovered that inoculating people with the animal disease cowpox made people immune to the deadly human disease smallpox. This was an interesting concept, and fortunately for Jenner it helped save lives …”1 Did they ever ask themselves how the inoculation of pus from a diseased animal could possibly prevent, rather than create, a disease in humans? This article explores the history of smallpox vaccination

and presents evidence that vaccinating people with cowpox pus did not prevent smallpox, did not save lives and did not eradicate smallpox. Instead it caused deaths and began a pernicious multi-billion dollar vaccine industry.


The word ‘pox’ is the plural form of ‘pocke’ (pocke meaning sac). Smallpox leaves small indentations, pocks, all over the body but particularly over the face. The name ‘smallpox”, which first occurs in Holinshead’s Chronicles from 1571, was given to this disease to distinguish it from syphilis, the ‘great pox’.

Michael Nightingale, a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine, writes: “It is a matter of pure speculation as to when the condition first appeared, but it is unlikely to have done so prior to man’s establishment of large townships coupled with poor nutrition, overcrowding, lack of sanitation and inadequate hygiene. Keeping people, such as slaves and prisoners, in disgusting and sub-human conditions may have been the necessary ingredient for the establishment of the virus but there is virtually no doubt that the aforementioned adverse conditions were responsible for the epidemics of smallpox as well as for its endemic nature in certain areas until its recent demise. It was recorded in Chinese history and was certainly prevalent in the west by the sixteenth century.”2

Smallpox was a deadly disease though not quite as deadly as one medical historian, Haggard, suggests.3 He writes, “Queen Mary II of England died of smallpox in 1694. In the century following her death 60 million persons in Europe died of smallpox.” The population of Europe was 130 million in 1762 and 175 million in 1800. The death rate from smallpox in that period was 18.5%. If 60 million deaths occurred with an 18.5% death rate then it would require 319,148,936 cases of smallpox in Europe and that would be 144,148,936 more cases of smallpox than there were people living in Europe at the close of the 18th century.4


The idea of putting pus into a cut was first introduced to the West by Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689 “” 1762), daughter of the Marquess of Dorchester, a leading Whig politician, and wife of the British envoy to Turkey. She and her husband spent some time there and on her return in 1718 she was agog with excitement that she could introduce to England a cure for smallpox, a disease she had suffered from when she was nineteen. She writes, “People send to one another to know if any of their family has a mind to have the smallpox; they make parties for this purpose. When they are met, an old woman comes with a nutshell of the matter of the best sort of smallpox and asks what veins you please to have opened. (Matter means discharge or pus.)

The old woman rips open the vein that you offer her with a large needle and puts into the vein as much venom as can lie upon the head of her needle and after binds up the little wound with a hollow bit of shell. In this manner she opens four or five veins.

“They are well for eight days. Then the fever seizes them and they keep their beds two days “” seldom three. They have rarely more than twenty or thirty pustules on their face, which leave no mark, and then they are as well as before their inoculation.”5

Barry, Iris. Portrait of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. Ernest Menn Ltd. 1928

Page 1 of 10 | Next page