Dr. Edward Jenner: Father of Immunology

We’ve all been reading tons of information about vaccines of late. Be it on news channels or our social media feeds. But have you ever wondered where it all started? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. This is the story of Dr. Edward Jenner who pioneered the concept of vaccines and is known as the Father of Immunology.

Timeline: 1749-1823

Place of study:

  • Wotton-under-Edge and Cirencester
  • St. George’s Hospital in London

Contributions to the field of medicine:

  • Jenner contributed to the classification of species that Captain Cook brought back from his first voyage. 
  • He devised an improved method for the preparation of a medicine called ‘tartar emetic’. 
  • He made the first step in eradicating smallpox from the world by theorising the use of cowpox lesions against smallpox. 
  • Jenner inoculated a young boy first with cowpox lesions, and then with smallpox lesions. The boy did not develop smallpox, and the immunisation was considered to be complete. 
  • Jenner also conducted a nationwide survey to prove his theory. 


In 1798 he published all his research into smallpox in a book entitled ‘An Inquiry into the Causes and Effects of the Variolae Vaccinae’.


1. Jenner Centenary Accessed from https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/003591572301600601 Accessed on 1st April 2021.
2. About Edward Jenner Accessed from https://www.jenner.ac.uk/about/edward-jenner Accessed on 1st April 2021. 
3. Riedel, Stefan. “Edward Jenner and the history of smallpox and vaccination.” Proceedings (Baylor University. Medical Center) vol. 18,1 (2005): 21-5.

Image used in this blog are for representation purposes only.
Image taken from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Jenner#/media/File:Edward_Jenner._Oil_painting._Wellcome_V0023503.jpg