Operation Balmis -Spain 2021.
About Operation Balmis and Francisco Javier from Balmis and Berenguer (1753-1819)
Correos issues a stamp in recognition of Operation Balmis, deployed by the Ministry of Defense, to fight the spread of the coronavirus.
The military in charge of this operation went out to disinfect the streets, reinforce the State Security Forces and Corps, and transfer the sick and deceased, among many other tasks.
We must not forget the great achievement obtained in the planning and installation of field hospitals in Ifema, Alcalá de Henares, October 12, Madrid; emergency camps in FIRA in Barcelona, León, Cádiz, San Fernando, Ceuta and Las Palmas, as well as the distribution of food.
This military operation was named “Operation Balmis”, in homage to the Spanish military doctor Francisco Xavier Balmis, who was responsible for the expedition that brought the smallpox vaccine to America and the Philippines.
Francisco Xavier Balmis y Berenguer was born in Alicante in 1753. At age 17, Balmis entered as an intern at the Alicante Military Hospital to train as a military surgeon, learning surgical and healing techniques necessary for military health, under the supervision of the senior surgeon, Ramón Gilabert.
After several stays in Spanish hospitals and also in Tangier, he obtained a promotion for which he was appointed army surgeon in April 1781. After the experiences in the Mediterranean, Balmis along with his Regiment, is assigned to America, on an expedition to fight the English in the Caribbean. Later he was appointed Senior Surgeon of the Military Hospital of the Love of God in Mexico City.
But one of Balmis’s greatest achievements has to do with a virus and a vaccine. At the beginning of the 19th century, Jenner published her advances on the smallpox vaccine. Balmis is one of the greatest advocates of vaccination and for this reason the Royal Philanthropic Vaccine Expedition embarks with the aim of spreading and perpetuating the smallpox vaccine in the overseas Hispanic territories.
The stamp shows a microscopic image of the smallpox virus, and above it, a world map that indicates the route of the great expedition.