Hola From Tenerife

Subscribe to our free newsletter to get an (ir)regular ray of Tenerife sunshine in your inbox. Just enter your email address below.

Delivered by FeedBurner



Festivals in Tenerife and other large gatherings are still not able to be held with social distancing and other restrictions still in force. Events listed here, therefore, are subject to cancellation or change without notice. Such circumstances are beyond our control.

Please like and follow our facebook page for more updates >>

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

When Doctor Balmis vaccinated thousands of people in Tenerife against smallpox

The María Pita, a ship chartered for the expedition, departing from
the port of La Coruña in 1803 (engraving by Francisco Pérez).

Santa Cruz de Tenerife was the first port to which the Balmis Expedition arrived in 1803, the great international sanitary operation that Spain promoted to bring the smallpox vaccine to the Spanish Empire. It spent a month in the capital city, vaccinating thousands of people.

El barco de la viruela: La escala de Balmis en Tenerife
The Ministry of Defense has named "Operation Balmis against SARS-CoV-2" the deployment of the Armed Forces to fight SARS-CoV-2 responsible for Covid-19, in a tribute to the Balmis Expedition or "Royal Philanthropic Expedition of the Vaccine", which took place between 1803 and 1806.

What was that expedition? It was the first international operation of a sanitary and humanitarian nature, proposed to King Carlos IV by the Spanish doctor and military surgeon Francisco Javier de Balmis y Berenguer in order to bring the smallpox vaccine to the  Spanish Empire to save hundreds of thousands of lives, especially children. It would be Carlos IV himself who would pay for it.

In order for the vaccine to withstand the long journey, Balmis took a group of orphaned children under the age of 10 as a natural reservoir, as they were inoculated with the vaccine, in order to extract the fluid from the pustules that formed (in what was called the "serial method "). In this way, thousands of people residing in the different territories of the Spanish Empire could be inoculated.

Isabel Zendal is recognized as the first nurse in history to take part in an international mission by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The expedition, on board the corvette "María Pita" (name of the heroine who had defended La Coruña from the English invasion of 1589), set sail from the port of that city on November 30, 1803 with Balmis (who would take advantage to study medicinal plants in the regions they visited) at the head and two auxiliary doctors, two practitioners, three nurses and the director of the Casa de Expósito (home for abandoned children) in La Coruña, Isabel Zendal, who would be responsible for the care of the 22 children on board.

The first port that the aforementioned expedition reached was that of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, where it spent a month vaccinating thousands of people and from where it left for America on January 6, 1804.

Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, all the territory known at that time as New Spain that included Mexico, California and Texas; the Philippines, China and the island of Saint Helena (although she was British), were the main regions where the procedure would be carried out.

The expedition carried 2,000 copies of the "Practical and Historical Vaccine Treaty" by the French physician and anatomist Moreau de Sarthe to distribute to the different vaccination commissions that were created in each place, so that they could learn and continue with the vaccination process.

The Balmis expedition was, without a doubt, the first and one of the greatest milestones in history of preventive and social medicine and public health that any country has ever carried out, saving the lives of thousands of people who, without it, would have died, although, even today it is unknown by many people in the country.

Cuando Balmis vacunó a miles de personas en Tenerife contra la viruela

Other references:
La vacuna de la viruela en Santa Cruz
ISABEL ZENDAL: la enfermera que ayudó a erradicar la viruela
Documental sobre la biografía del Dr. Balmis

No comments:

Tenerife Topics

Adeje Almond Flower Route April in Tenerife Arafo Arico Arona Ash Wednesday Auditorio de Tenerife August in Tenerife Brexit Buenavista del Norte Burial of the Sardine Canarian Cuisine Canaries Day Candelaria Candelmas Carnaval de Día Carnival 1987 Carnival 1988 Carnival 1989 Carnival 1990 Carnival 1991 Carnival 1992 Carnival 1993 Carnival 1994 Carnival 1995 Carnival 1996 Carnival 1997 Carnival 1998 Carnival 1999 Carnival 2000 Carnival 2001 Carnival 2002 Carnival 2003 Carnival 2004 Carnival 2005 Carnival 2006 Carnival 2007 Carnival 2008 Carnival 2009 Carnival 2010 Carnival 2011 Carnival 2012 Carnival 2013 Carnival 2014 Carnival 2015 Carnival 2016 Carnival 2017 Carnival 2018 Carnival 2019 Carnival 2020 Carnival 2021 Carnival 2022 Carnival Foods Carnival History Carnival Main Parade Carnival Queen Santa Cruz Carnival Queens 2001-2020 Carnivals of the World Children's Carnaval Parade Chinyero Christmas in Tenerife Christopher Columbus Comparsas Corazones de Tejina Corpus Christi COVID-19 Craft Fairs Daytime Carnival December in Tenerife Día de la Cruz Día de San José Easter in Tenerife El Gordo Christmas Lottery El Rosario El Sauzal El Tanque Epidemics in Tenerife Farmers Markets Fasnia February in Tenerife Fiesta Nacional de España Fiestas de San Juan Fiestas El Palmar Flavours of Christmas Free Tour Garachico Granadilla de Abona Guía de Isora Güímar History of Tenerife Icod de los Vinos Innocent Saints January in Tenerife Jardín Botánico July in Tenerife June in Tenerife Junior Carnival Queen La Gomera La Guancha La Matanza de Acentejo La Orotava La Palma Eruption La Siervita La Victoria de Acentejo Las Burras de Güímar Las Celias de Tenerife Los Cristianos Los Cristianos Carnival Los Gigantes Los Gigantes Carnival Los Indianos Los Realejos Los Reyes Los Silos March in Tenerife Masca Mascarita Ponte Tacón May in Tenerife Monuments and Sculptures in Santa Cruz Municipal Holidays Municipalities Fiestas Nelson's Attack on Santa Cruz 25 Jul 1797 New Year in Tenerife Nochebuena November in Tenerife October in Tenerife Opening Parade Parade of Vintage Cars Public Holidays Puerto de la Cruz Puerto de la Cruz Carnival Rally Calendar Recipes for All Saints Day Rhythm and Harmony Comparsas Romería de San Roque Romerías San Andrés San Antonio Abad San Cristóbal de La Laguna San Juan de la Rambla San Miguel de Abona San Sebastián Santa Cruz de Tenerife Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Santa Cruz de Tenerife Carnival Themes Santa Úrsula Santiago del Teide Senior Carnival Queen September in Tenerife Shrove Tuesday Simón Bolívar Summer Carnival Tacoronte Tegueste Tenerife Carnival Dates Tenerife Disaster Tenerife Fire Tenerife Month by Month Tenerife Museums Tenerife Rally Tenerife Walking Festival Tenerife Weather Tenerife Wines Teno Rural Park This Is Tenerife (TIT) Town Halls in Tenerife Traditional Fiestas Tropical Storm Delta Vilaflor de Chasna

Secret Tenerife Needs Your Support: We don't get paid for our work, which takes many hours of research, translation, etc. Therefore, if you can and find this site interesting or useful, please consider making a donation.

Tenerife Land of Eternal Christmas

Sunbathing SantaDesert Island ChristmasScuba Diving SantaTropical Santa
Santa's Having a Whale of a TimeSurfing SantaWaterski SantaCamel Rodeo Santa
With a wide range of products in each design, click the pics (above) to see the full selections.