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Vaccination Trends in India: From the 19th Century to the Present

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Zainab Farooq
Jasmine Robins

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Holly Donahue Singh

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In 1803, a 3-year-old girl received what would be the first vaccination in India's history. The vaccine was for smallpox, which had taken the world by storm. Considering the administration of the vaccine a success, the British Raj opted to switch from variolation to vaccination. Vaccination types started with smallpox, then typhoid fever, and continued to grow along with the course of India's history until today with the emergence of the COVID-19 vaccination in its many forms. However, this sudden push to a new type of medicine could have been considered disruptive, taking people away from their traditional medicine and practices. As vaccines were considered Western medicine, the idea of them had mixed reviews amongst the population. Throughout the years, the production of vaccinations in India has improved a lot as India has recently quickly and efficiently rolled out vaccinations for the COVID-19 pandemic. Comparing and contrasting trends in vaccination statistics, developments, rules, and regulations from then and now can aid India and other countries in finding what worked and what didn't to adjust for future decisions in law-making and scientific research. Making changes based on historical analysis is one of the best ways to avoid making the same mistakes in the future and help avoid making new ones.

In this research project, we will explore vaccination trends in India starting from the first vaccines given in the 19th century to the current roll out of COVID-19 vaccines in today's pandemic.

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Vaccination Trends in India: From the 19th Century to the Present

In 1803, a 3-year-old girl received what would be the first vaccination in India's history. The vaccine was for smallpox, which had taken the world by storm. Considering the administration of the vaccine a success, the British Raj opted to switch from variolation to vaccination. Vaccination types started with smallpox, then typhoid fever, and continued to grow along with the course of India's history until today with the emergence of the COVID-19 vaccination in its many forms. However, this sudden push to a new type of medicine could have been considered disruptive, taking people away from their traditional medicine and practices. As vaccines were considered Western medicine, the idea of them had mixed reviews amongst the population. Throughout the years, the production of vaccinations in India has improved a lot as India has recently quickly and efficiently rolled out vaccinations for the COVID-19 pandemic. Comparing and contrasting trends in vaccination statistics, developments, rules, and regulations from then and now can aid India and other countries in finding what worked and what didn't to adjust for future decisions in law-making and scientific research. Making changes based on historical analysis is one of the best ways to avoid making the same mistakes in the future and help avoid making new ones.

In this research project, we will explore vaccination trends in India starting from the first vaccines given in the 19th century to the current roll out of COVID-19 vaccines in today's pandemic.