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The President’s Address: From smallpox to coronavirus: 150 years of vaccination

3 October, 2022 @ 7:30 pm 9:00 pm

To be given by Professor Sir Kent Woods FMedSci

Professor Sir Kent Woods

Professor Sir Kent Woods FMedSci was, for twenty years, an honorary consultant physician at Leicester Royal Infirmary and was appointed Professor of Therapeutics in 1996.From 2004-2013 he was the first chief executive of the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an executive agency of the Department of Health, and later chaired the European Medicines Agency. He is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and was knighted for services to healthcare in 2011. In retirement he took the role of senior medical trustee of the British Heart Foundation.

Summary of talk: Epidemics of smallpox in the mid-19th century prompted legislation making smallpox vaccination of infants compulsory. Leicester became a focus of national protest; tens of thousands of people from over fifty towns demonstrated here in 1885. The law was later amended to allow conscientious objection. Ninety years later, smallpox became the first infectious disease ever to be eradicated globally by vaccination. Immunisation has proved its value against many other diseases, yet the questions raised by the Leicester Anti-Vaccination League must be rigorously answered for every new vaccine as we confront a growing list of health threats from infections in the 21st century. 

This event is open to both members and non-members to attend in person. The event will also be streamed using Zoom. Unless COVID-19 (or other) restrictions are imposed, it will not be necessary to book in advance. If such restrictions are put in place, then this webpage will be updated with information on how to book.

Members: Members will receive an email about a week before the event providing them with the information required to listen to the lecture using Zoom.

Non-members: Non-members may attend on payment of £5 (student non-members £3) at the door. Non-members may also watch the lecture streamed using Zoom by booking using EventBrite here:

New Walk Museum, 53 New Walk
Leicester, LE1 7EA
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