Maybe people know that Edward Jenner first gave his new smallpox vaccine to James Phipps, the 8-year-old son of Jenner’s gardener.
What they might now know is that two years later, in 1798, he also vaccinated his own son Robert F. Jenner, when he was eleven months old.
Did Edward Jenner’s Son Die from a Vaccine Reaction?
Did he die after getting vaccinated?
Did he suffer brain damage?
Of course not!
He didn’t even have a reaction and was later inoculated after being exposed to smallpox.
“My two eldest children were inoculated for the smallpox before I began to inoculate for the cow-pox. My youngest child was born about the time my experiments commenced, and was among the earliest I ever vaccinated. By referring to the first work I published on the subject in the spring of the year 1798, page 40, you will find his name, Robert F. Jenner, and you will observe it noticed that on his arm the vaccine lymph did not prove infectious. It advanced two or three days, and then died away.”Edward Jenner on the Life of Dr. Jenner
He died 56 years later.
Edward Jenner’s other children didn’t receive his smallpox vaccine. As they were all born before his experiments with cowpox, they had already received traditional smallpox inoculations.
“Edward is growing tall, and has long looked over my head. Catherine, now eleven years old, is a promising girl; and Robert, eight years old, is just a chip of the old block.”Edward Jenner on the Life of Dr. Jenner
Edward Robert Jenner did die young, but it certainly wasn’t an effect of his father’s smallpox vaccine. He died of tuberculosis, which was a common killer at the time. He was 21 and had always had health problems, but again, he never received his father’s new vaccine, so how could he be the “first child to suffer vaccine damage???”
What about the ethical implications of giving an experimental vaccine to your own child? A vaccine made with cow pus?
Remember, Jenner’s smallpox vaccine was made with cowpox virus. It was replacing variolation, a procedure in which people were actually inoculated with smallpox virus. While much better than getting smallpox, variolation was still dangerous and some people died from the procedure.
His smallpox vaccine was a much safer option.
More on Edward Jenner’s Son
- VAXOPEDIA – Should I Be Worried That My Kids Didn’t Get the Smallpox Vaccine?
- VAXOPEDIA – Vaccinated vs Unvaccinated – Smallpox Edition
- VAXOPEDIA – The Leicester Method and Smallpox Eradication
- VAXOPEDIA – The Plano Smallpox Outbreak of 1895
- Vaccination’s Forgotten Origins
- Robert Fitzhardinge Jenner (1797-1854)
- An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae, a disease discovered in some of the western counties of England, particularly Gloucestershire and Known by the Name of Cow Pox
- Dr Jenner’s House, Museum and Garden
- Ethical reflections on Edward Jenner’s experimental treatment
- Would Jenner’s smallpox experiment pass a research ethics committee?
- Edward Jenner and the history of smallpox and vaccination
- Edward Jenner and the Smallpox Vaccine