In April 1721, the first cases of smallpox arrived in Boston on a ship from the West Indies. While the disease spread rapidly, doctors vehemently opposed a pamphlet encouraging them to adopt an African practice in which the patient was given a weakened form of the disease to prevent getting the more dangerous strain. However, one doctor made history by being the first American to inoculate against smallpox. On June 27, 1721, Zabdiel Boylston began inoculating a small group of patients, including his two sons. When word got out that Boylston was ignoring an ordinance against the vaccination, he was attacked by angry mobs. In 1724, Boylston left for London, where his efforts were well received. Seventy-five years after Boylston's first inoculations, Edward Jenner developed the vaccine for smallpox that would lead to eradication of the disease.
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