Variolation or inoculation against smallpox began as early as 1756 in Sweden. The technique was to rub powder from smallpox scabs or fluid from pustules into small cuts to create a controlled exposure to the disease. The hope was that a person’s immune system would develop resistance through small exposure.
Dr. Edward Jenner (of England) published his analysis of smallpox vaccination in 1798. By 1800 Jenner’s work had been translated into Swedish and Dr. E. S. Munck af Rosenschöld practiced the technique in Lund in 1801. Vaccination against small pox was quickly recognized as an effective practice to prevent epidemics of the disease. By 1810 the practice of small pox vaccination was wide spread in Sweden and was performed by doctors, priests, and church wardens. Because the church assisted with vaccinations, you may find vaccination records in the ministerial book, household examinations, or in a book of its own. Beginning in 1816 all children in Sweden had to be vaccinated for smallpox by law. The disease still had outbreaks in the 1800’s in Sweden but effected mostly elderly people who had never been vaccinated. The public requirement for smallpox vaccination in Sweden was discontinued in 1976.
Source: Nordisk familjebok. Uggleupplagen 2, ”Vaccination”, Stockholm 1921, page 205
Image from ArkivDigital, Tuna (C), C:3 (1716 – 1766) bild 214/sid 454Share this: