Of Vaccination and Infectious Diseases in 2003
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Vaccination has entered its 3rd century, having started with the use of vaccinia virus by Jenner in the last decade of the 18th century. Pasteur put vaccination on a more empirical footing in the 1880s, and vaccine development proceeded slowly up to the mid-20th century. During this early period, live bacterial and viral vaccines were attenuated by passage in animals and we learned how to kill microbes without destroying their immunogenicity. In addition, knowledge of bacterial toxins and capsular polysaccharides permitted the development of important new vaccines for epidemic infections.