227 Fundació Uriach 1838

Francisco Piguillem and the vaccine in Spain


 In these difficult days that we are living in which the Covid-19 pandemic has changed our lives and in which everybody is looking for a vaccine, we want to remember how the population's immunization system came to Spain.
Francisco Piguillem Verdacer was the responsible of this great advance who, following Edward Jenner's experiments, inoculated four children from Puigcerdà with a lymph from Paris in December 1800 so that they developed immunity to the virus.
The document that best reflects these events is the work of Piguillem “La vacuna en España ó cartas familiares sobre esta nueva inoculación: escritas a la señora”. This work, published in 1914, contains the letters the author wrote to the mother of one of these first vaccinated children, describing the facts, the procedure, and a brief history of smallpox and the vaccination introduced by Edward Jenner. .
Despite some critics of this new practice, Piguillem continued to spread the vaccine throughout the Catalonia and the rest of Spain, translated the work "Essai sur l'innoculation de la vaccine" by François Colon and was appointed professor of Medicine in the Academia de Medicina Práctica de Barcelona.
The Uriach Foundation preserves, in addition to a copy of the aforementioned work, a set of manuscripts dating from 1826 of notes from Piguillem's lessons on Pyrethology, Medical Philosophy, Ideology and Classification of Medicines collected by his students.