It has been a long journey starting from the beginnings of variolation  leading up to the
greatest success in the history of immunization: the eradication of smallpox . Today, vaccines are
an acknowledged important medical advance . Nevertheless, immunization has been the subject of
public controversy on several occasions [15, 24, 31]. This article shall provide a short overview of
some aspects of the early stages of immunization in Western countries, including some examples of
vaccine safety controversies in the past.
Keywords: Cow pox, history, immunization, smallpox, vaccine, variolation.
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