Sergey D. Batoev
V.F. Voyno-Yasenetsky Scientifi c and Practical Center of Special Medical Care for Children
The article presents the results of research on smallpox vaccination in the Transbaikal region. It explores the history of smallpox vaccination from the moment of its introduction by advocate doctors to the start of organized public programs throughout the region. In the 18th to early 20th century, Transbaikal had a high death rate from smallpox. As a result, vaccination of the population of Transbaikal was an urgent public health issue. From 1770, vaccinations began to be carried out in the West Transbaikal town of Barguzin (in the present-day Republic of Buryatia). However, the vaccinations were not conducted in a systematic way and were only carried out by advocate doctors. In East Transbaikal, smallpox vaccinations were first carried out in the town of Nerchinsk (in the present-day Chita region) in 1809−1811. The author proposes that 1811 be considered the beginning of planned public programs for mass smallpox vaccinations throughout the territory of Transbaikal. The indigenous Buryat population was, in general, happy to be vaccinated against smallpox, but there were never enough vaccination specialists or vaccines. Due to their way of life, the residents of Old Believer villages resisted mass smallpox vaccination for a long time, so the mortality rate among them was higher than among the indigenous population. Gradually, thanks to systematic government programs and the efforts of medical personnel in the Transbaikal area, residents came to an understanding of the need for vaccinations against the deadly disease. Vaccinations were actively conducted by vaccination scholars from among the peasants and indigenous people who were paid and received benefits for this. On the basis of archival materials, the situation with children’s vaccination against smallpox in Transbaikal is provided for different years. The main problems that prevented smallpox vaccination in this region of Russia are given (a lack of specialists, insufficient quantity of vaccine, the difficulty of transporting it to the region and the negative attitude of the residents of the Old Believer villages towards vaccinations, and others reasons). Children and adults, including convicts, were vaccinated. The Transbaikal region was not able to organize the production of materials for smallpox vaccines. Deliveries of detrital products to Transbaikal were carried out from Saint Petersburg, Orel, Krasnoyarsk, and Tomsk.
Keywords: smallpox, vaccination, detrital products, Old Believers, Verkhneudinsk, Nerchinsk