Ethical Issues That Arise In Jenner’s Vaccination Against Smallpox

1116 Words Dec 6th, 2013 5 Pages
Ethical Issues That Arise In Jenner’s Vaccination Against Smallpox
In Edward Jenner’s Vaccination Against Smallpox, the way Jenner experiments on the people in his village questions whether or not his actions were ethical. Jenner’s work on the people in his community addresses many health risks due to the smallpox disease, his work may have had both purpose and justification, but the way Jenner carried out his experiments were very dangerous and harmful to his community. Jenner put many people’s lives in jeopardy including men, women and even young innocent children. If the Nuremburg Code was established prior to Jenner’s time, Jenner’s work might have been rejected. Jenner’s work may have been rejected because in his writing and in his
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In the beginning of Jenner’s inquiry he assumed that a disease called the grease was the source of how the smallpox came about (Jenner, 13). In fact, it was proven later on, that the grease had no ties or connection to the smallpox disease whatsoever. The grease only shared a connection with the cowpox disease (Jenner, 14). Jenner concluded that the grease and the cow-pox were the same disease which was proved to be incorrect according to the footnotes of the editor (Jenner, 15). A lot of people may question whether or not it is just to inoculate humans with a deadly disease just to satisfy curiosity about a subject. Jenner put a lot of people lives at risk. Jenner treated everyone like nonhuman scientific subjects for his use of research and observation.
The smallpox disease carried the possibility of death. Jenner tested his theory on some humans who were in perfect health. In case 17, Jenner mentioned that in order for him to accurately observe the progress of the infection, he inoculated a healthy eight year old boy with the cowpox and then the smallpox (Jenner, 24). This boy never had either diseases, but yet Jenner still chose to inoculate him which was very unethical. By injecting both the cowpox and the smallpox put these healthy individuals at dangerous risk. No point in Jenner’s inquiry does Jenner mention him getting verbal or written consent from the people in his village.
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