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Monday, October 18, 2021

Here’s what a 113-year-old vaccination certificate from Ottoman Empire looks like

The unprecedented situation across the globe in wake of the novel Covid-19 pandemic is not the first time that humans have faced dire consequences as earlier generations had also faced many of the deadly disease outbreaks.

Recently, a vaccination certificate that dates back to around 1900 has resurfaced which contains details of the vaccinated individual, quite similar to what we see nowadays in the form of Covid vaccination certificates.

Historians claim that the first studies emerged to combat smallpox, a deadly virus for which there is no known cure, and regulation for individual inoculation was issued back in 1885 to curb the spread of disease.

Later, the rule was expanded with additions between 1894 and 1915, and as per the orders, it’s mandatory for minors to get vaccines against smallpox. Some reports quoting sources cited that children were needed to be inoculated in the empire created by Turkish tribes and the vaccination process was repeated every five years.

However, the latest piece which is more than a century old is a vaccination certificate, written in the Arabic and French language, it’s the time when individuals were immunized against plague, measles, and some other diseases.

The vaccinated individual was a ten-year-old child, Ismail Efendi, from Istanbul while Mehmed Aga was his father. The certificate also stated the address of residence of the boy while the handwritten text stated the vaccine confirmation against the epidemic during the reign of Sultan Abdulhamid II in the Ottoman Empire.

In another correction about the vaccination in the Ottoman Empire, which was debunked by many of the historians is that the Ottoman era was not the first to introduce mass vaccination however many quoted a letter of Lady Mary Montagu, the wife of a British envoy in Constantinople in 1700.

On the other hand, British physician Edward Jenner was the first one who introduced variolation, per reports.

Furthermore, due to limited awareness about the disease, people at that time used to curb the threat of an epidemic by precautions, much like the current world in which social distancing and face masks are said to be crucial parts other than immunization.

Some journals cited that the sale of some specific food items was temporarily restricted as a precaution, while educational institutions other than the festivals were also avoided to stem the spread of outbreaks.

Ottoman Empire researchers used detailed studies while some embarked on foreign travels to discover the cure of novel outbreaks. TB, and Rabies vaccines, made by Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch, also garnered attention in Ottoman Empire.

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