A few decades later, the British country doctor Edward Jenner came up with a new, less risky technique. In 1796, he discovered that milkmaids could get cowpox, but did not get the dangerous human smallpox.
Cowpox was a milder form of the human variant and it made these women immune to smallpox. The inoculation of healthy people with cowpox would protect them for life, according to Jenner.
At the beginning of 1800, the first inoculation with cowpox was administered in Ostend. The first smallpox inoculations, later called vaccination (from the Latin for cow: vacca), were initiated by a number of surgeons and medical societies.
They tried to convince the population of the benefits through popularizing brochures and lectures. Some doctors also offered inoculations free of charge, such as Joseph Kluyskens in Ghent and Louis Vrancken in Antwerp.