The first vaccine was developed at the end of the 18th century by English country doctor Edward Jenner. Jenner’s success was so resounding that it remains the blueprint for all vaccination programs to this day. The smallpox vaccine shows the four characteristics that characterize a good vaccine candidate. The disease to be vaccinated against must be so serious that it justifies the vaccination of a large number of people. This is because healthy people who may never come into contact with the pathogen are vaccinated. Therefore, one must be sure that the benefits outweigh the risks with great certainty and by a large margin. If this is not the case, vaccination constitutes a bodily injury. This precautionary principle, which is expressed in the dictum primum nihil nocere (“first, do no harm”), has been the guiding principle of all medical action for more than 2,000 years.
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