Six bifurcated needles for smallpox vaccination, Germany, 1975-1978

Made:
1975-1978 in Germany
maker:
Unknown

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Packet of dried smallpox vaccine (1986-1658) with six bifurcated needles for smallpox vaccination (1979-61). Top three
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Packet of dried smallpox vaccine (1986-1658) with six bifurcated needles for smallpox vaccination (1979-61). Top three
Science Museum Group Collection
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Six bifurcated needles for smallpox vaccination, developed by Wyeth Laboratories, German(? ), 1975-1978

Bifurcated needles have two prongs. A small drop of smallpox vaccine was placed between the prongs and approximately fifteen punctures would be made into the skin. The needles were easy to use and the technique could be learnt by anyone, making effective widespread vaccination possible. The needles were sterilised by boiling or passing through a flame. The skin was not disinfected before use as this killed the vaccine.

The needles were developed by Wyeth for the World Health Organisation’s Global Smallpox Eradication programme. Wyeth waived the patent royalties to the needles meaning that vaccination was affordable and available to all. The needles are shown here with dried smallpox vaccine (1986-1658 Pt2).

Related people

Details

Category:
Public Health & Hygiene
Object Number:
1979-61
Measurements:
Each needle: 7 mm x 52 mm x 7 mm, .0003 kg
type:
vaccination needle
taxonomy:
  • furnishing and equipment
  • tools & equipment
  • medical instrument
credit:
Paterson, A.D.
status:
Permanent collection

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