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COVID-19 Diary Project

Diary

2021 is the year of hope.

Based on an article in “On the Edge” the North Nibley Newsletter

2021, the year when the world will eventually start to recover from the threat of the COVID-19. The virus which blighted 2020. 2021, the year when the world’s population will start to be immunised against this deadly pandemic.

Vaccination

Vaccination is the medical technique which provides this immunity. The word “Vaccination” derives from the Latin for “cow” or “vacca.

Dr Jenner
Dr Jenner performing his first vaccination. This file comes from Wellcome Images, a website operated by Wellcome Trust, a global charitable foundation based in the United Kingdom.

Dr Edward Jenner, who was born in Berkeley, developed vaccination in 1749 . While investigating how a mild disease known as cowpox appeared to provide immunity against the deadly smallpox, he developed the technique of injecting small quantities of cowpox into the bloodstream, to protect against smallpox. Subsequently, he devoted his life to ensuring that this technique was practiced as widely as possible, and available to all.

The Temple of Vaccinia

The Temple of Vaccinia
The Temple of Vaccinia, a small thatched building in the garden of The Chantry. It is from this small building that Dr Edward Jenner vaccinated people against smallpox. © Copyright Philip Halling

The Temple of Vaccinia as Jenner called it was the world’s first vaccination clinic. It was his garden summerhouse, at his home in Berkeley. Vaccinations were soon being conducted world-wide as the practice spread. It is difficult to estimate how many lives have been, and continue to be saved by this medical breakthrough. However, following a world-wide effort, in 1979 the World Health Organisation declared smallpox eradicated. How prescient were the words of Thomas Jefferson, who in 1806 wrote of Dr Jenner :

“You have erased from the calendar of human afflictions one of its greatest. Yours is the comfortable reflection that mankind can never forget that you have lived”.

(1806) Thomas Jefferson to G. C. Edward Jenner
(1806) Thomas Jefferson to G. C. Edward Jenner. -05-14. Retrieved from the Library of Congress

The Jenner Museum

The “Birthplace of Vaccination”, in Church Lane Berkeley, is now preserved as a Museum. The Jenner Museum, House, and Gardens are (under normal circumstances) open to the public, lovingly cared for, and offer informative and educational displays and events about the science of vaccination and related topics.

COVID-19 Diary Project

The Museum is running its COVID-19 Diary Project, an opportunity for you to contribute to their repository of stories, observations, and memories from this pandemic for the benefit of future researchers. The Museum hope that you will join the project in keeping a diary of your experiences, from the mundane to the profound. Basically anything that sheds light on daily life during a pandemic. More details are on the museum website. Now, more than ever, the world needs to know about Dr Edward Jenner and his remarkable legacy.

The Jenner Trust

Dr Jenner’s House is owned and run by The Jenner Trust, an independent charity (number 1158316). Being a charity, they rely heavily on visitors to finance the upkeep of the House, Museum and Gardens. Sadly, forced to close for most of 2020 for the safety of visitors and staff, funding has been severely reduced.

If you would like to help by donating, volunteering, or registering your support, please check out their website or for more information email.

“No human being who has ever lived has saved more lives than the simple country doctor from Gloucestershire”.

Andrew Marr’s History of the World 2012

While we may dispute the description “simple” for such an astute and innovative mind, this tribute could prove especially true in 2021.

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