The Key Role of Maskiel El Dal and Dr. E.J. Goldsmit in the Smallpox Vaccination in Amsterdam. ‘Blessed is he that Considereth the Poor’ | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
2004
Volume 48, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 1781-7838
  • E-ISSN: 1783-1792

Abstract

Abstract

Since outbreaks of smallpox in children occurred frequently during the early modern period and the death rates of children in Amsterdam were quite high, the long-awaited decree of the King for vaccinating the poor did not fall on deaf ears. Dr. Goldsmit embarked on a journey which has made a difference in the health settings of the Jewish Ashkenazi community, when he chose to try out Jenner’s vaccination method against smallpox. Dr. Goldsmit’s strong belief in the value of the new vaccination method helped to achieve his goal in vaccinating as many children as possible – Jewish and Christian alike. The Jewish doctor requested the help of the Parnassim, which led to the publication of the ’s Manifesto, urging parents to have their children vaccinated by Dr. Goldsmit. From that moment the vaccination rate in the Jewish community climbed. Dr. Goldsmit’s lifelong mission had been acknowledged and commended not only by the Jewish community of Amsterdam but also by his Christian peer physicians, who saluted and encouraged him at the same time.

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