Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Smallpox - Stamp

Now that the Coronavirus vaccine has come out, there is a lot of news about it on the media. Students may be overwhelmed by all this information. No one really knows how effective the vaccine will be and what side effects may come from it.

This would be a good time to discuss the smallpox epidemic and the vaccine that eradicated it.

The origin of smallpox is unknown and dates back to the Egyptian Empire. It was so devastating that three out of every ten people afflicted with it died. Those who didn’t die usually were scarred terribly.

The World Health Organization started a plan to get rid of smallpox in 1959. Due to lack of money, personnel, and countries willing to work together in addition to the lack of vaccines, it was not successful. In 1967, the plan was put in effect again. At this time, many countries were able to make a higher quality freeze-dried vaccine. There was also a new bifurcated needle, a way to detect and investigate new cases, and a mass vaccination campaign (like we have today).

By 1980, smallpox had been eradicated totally in every country.

In 1978, the United Nations issued four commemorative stamps to mark the Global Eradication of Smallpox.” The four stamps consist of 13-cent and 31-cent stamps for use at the NY headquarters of the United Nations. An 80-centime and a 1.10-franc of a common design were used at the UN’s European offices in Geneva, Switzerland.

The two US stamps were designed by H. Auchli of Switzerland. His design showed the smallpox virus as seen through a microscope in black, with a pink and blue background. The Geneva stamps were designed by E. Weishoff of Israel. His design consisted of two globes, one was infected by the disease and the other was disease-free. There were sheets of 50 stamps, with four marginal vertical inscriptions.

No comments: