But even before Jenner's proof of the success of vaccinations, people had realized a few things about smallpox.
If someone had had the disease once, they could safely care for others in an outbreak. Some had also discovered that it was possible to prevent the disease by taking a tissue sample an infected person and transmitting it to a healthy person. But this had the added risk of sharing any blood transmitted illnesses.
The vaccine won over the disease though, giving it a death knell.
Right before routine vaccination for smallpox stopped in the USA, I had the preventative. The dime-sized, round, seal of approval-type scar, which appeared on the top of my foot is a reminder that my body can resist smallpox. Also, I've not contracted typhoid or cholera.