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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: May 2020

8 - Across the Pyrenees


Chapter 8 discusses the arrival of vaccination in Portugal and Spain. An early recipient of cowpox, Portugal proved barren ground until the Prince Regent promoted the practice. Given its long rejection of smallpox inoculation, Spain moved surprisingly rapidly to embrace the new prophylaxis, with the first vaccination at the end of 1800, with vaccine sent from Paris. During 1801, vaccination was established in Madrid and other major centres and there was a flurry of publications on the procedure, some original, others customised translations. Grandees patronised vaccination in the provinces and local initiatives led to good coverage in Barcelona and Navarra. In 1803, the Royal and Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition was organised to extend the practice through the Spanish empire, beginning in the Canary Islands. War and political upheaval frustrated measures to consolidate vaccination in Spain and Portugal, but the authorities, political and medical, and some communities retained their commitment to the practice.

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