Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A President That Done Good...!

Bet yo never thought you would see that saying at the Hermit's house! To tell the truth, I never figured I'd say it.

However, after reading this article over at KnowledgeNuts, I have to admit I was wrong. Pretty good story here if you take the time to research it.

The Sitting President Who Worked On The Smallpox Vaccine
By Heather Ramsey on Sunday, May 10, 2015

In 1796, English doctor Edward Jenner discovered the power of vaccination by using cowpox serum to protect healthy people against smallpox. Four years later, Jenner sent a sample of this smallpox vaccine to Harvard professor Benjamin Waterhouse, who enlisted the help of an amateur scientist in Virginia to test the vaccine on a larger population. Even after he became the third US President, Thomas Jefferson continued to work on the vaccine in his spare time. Benjamin Franklin also advocated vaccination. In 1980, the World Health Assembly declared that smallpox had been officially eradicated worldwide.



In 1796, English doctor Edward Jenner discovered the power of vaccination by using cowpox serum to protect healthy people against smallpox. Four years later, Jenner sent a sample of this smallpox vaccine to Harvard professor Benjamin Waterhouse, who tried the vaccine on his own family. To prove the effectiveness of the serum, Waterhouse later exposed some of his family members to patients with smallpox. The vaccine was a success.

However, Waterhouse wanted to get the word out to a larger population. He couldn’t do it on his own, so he wrote to Thomas Jefferson, an amateur scientist in Virginia. Jefferson was excited about the idea, and the two men partnered long-distance to make it happen. Jefferson helped Waterhouse figure out how to package the vaccine to survive the trip to Virginia. In fact, even after he became the third US President, Thomas Jefferson continued to work on testing and promoting the new vaccine.

Jefferson had always been an advocate of “inoculation,” although this earlier method gave the actual disease to the patient in a milder form to provide immunity. Depending on the progression of the disease, it could be deadly to the person inoculated and to people who were exposed to that person, if he or she weren’t quarantined properly. Despite the risks, Jefferson had insisted on having himself, his children, and some of his slaves inoculated with this dangerous earlier method.

Benjamin Franklin was also an advocate of this more deadly form of inoculation. In his newspaper, The Pennsylvania Gazette, he published studies showing the value of inoculation. In one such study in 1730, 72 people were inoculated, but only 3 percent of the patients died. When people normally contracted the disease, about 25 percent died. Franklin also set up the Society for Inoculating the Poor Gratis so that the high cost of inoculation wouldn’t leave the poor unprotected. Franklin had a personal reason for his interest in inoculation: His young son, Francis Folger Franklin, had died of smallpox at just four years old.

Benjamin Franklin died several years before inoculation was replaced by the discovery of vaccination against smallpox. That left Jefferson to be the champion of the cause. He chose a teenage kitchen slave to be the first test case, but the vaccination didn’t “take.” Later, he vaccinated two more slaves. This time, the experiment was a success.

In short order, Jefferson had vaccinated almost 200 of his extended family and neighbors. When some of them were later exposed to smallpox, they were fine. Jefferson conducted these tests, keeping careful notes, all while he was President of the United States. The smallpox vaccine slowly spread. But it wasn’t until 1980 that the World Health Assembly declared that smallpox had been officially eradicated worldwide.

It's nice to know that long ago even the President could and would take the time to do something that was really for the people. Thanks to men like Jefferson and Franklin, this vaccine was made available to all. For that we can all be thankful!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. The weather is going to turn nasty later!

8 comments:

linda m said...

Wish we had some leaders like that today. We could use people who aren't afraid to stand up for the people. Kitchen is fine today -we are expecting rain here again. Sure did make my grass grow.

Chickenmom said...

Some Presidents are truly great men.
Thanks for sharing this remarkable story! Send that rain up here - we need it!

JO said...

Great post, small pox was such a killer.

Kitchen is OK with me

Rob said...

They don't make them like that anymore!
Or maybe if they do they are just not allowed on television...

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
It's a shame that they broke the mold after all the good guys were president.

Take care and thanks for stopping by today!



Hey Phyllis...
Nice to know that those guys actually had the general welfare of the public in mind.

Thanks for coming by today!



Hey Jo...
Sure glad that you liked it! I'm glad the cure was found!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!



Hey Rob...
The parties don't want a good guy going on the air and make noises as though the people are important. They would rather have someone that appears to be a Boss!

Thanks for the visit this morning!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Maybe they still make great men like that, but they don't run for public office, especially president. Of course, I liked Reagan.

Mamahen said...

Very interesting post :))

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