How vaccination has saved more lives and prevented more serious diseases than any other advance in recent medical history
Vaccination is one of the world’s modern miracles, and one of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine. Thanks to vaccinations and the Pharmaceutical Companies that have developed and distributed them, smallpox is now a thing of the past, and polio has been virtually eradicated.
In fact, no other medical intervention in history has done more to both save lives and improves the quality of life.
To illustrate the point, let us briefly look at the history of Smallpox, Polio, Whooping Cough and Diphtheria, and Meningitis C.
Before the vaccine eliminated the disease by 1980, Smallpox ravaged and killed thousands of people in Europe in the 18th century. Once caught, the disease would kill around a third of its victims and leave its survivors scarred or blind. Had it not been for the vaccine, and the pharma companies that distribute it, the disease would still cause an estimated 2 million deaths worldwide every year.
At its peak, Polio, which is caused by a virus that destroys nerve cells, threatened millions of people worldwide, and more than 1,000 children a day, globally, were paralysed by polio.
Indeed, before a vaccine was developed and distributed by the pharma companies to prevent this incurable and deadly disease, polio was treated by puting children in a giant metal machine, called an "iron lung," which helped them to breathe. Less than 50 years ago, hospital wards with children in iron lungs were a common sight.
In European countries like the UK, Meningitis C is now more or less a thing of the past since the men C vaccine was introduced in 1999. Since then, there has been a 99% reduction in cases of meningitis C among those aged under 20.
In fact, in 1998, the year before the vaccine was introduced, there were 78 deaths among children and teens. By 2007/08 there were zero deaths in these age groups.
Whooping cough and diphtheria:
In 1940, there were more than 60,000 cases and 3,283 deaths from diphtheria only in the UK, and up until the ‘50’s, the country saw an average of 120,000 cases of whooping cough each year.
By 2008, the vaccination distributed by the pharma companies had virtually eliminated diphtheria, and the vaccination against whooping cough had dramatically reduced that disease as well.
Why we still need vaccines?
Given the fact that these days the diseases discussed above are so rare, it’s easy to underestimate the importance of children’s vaccinations.
However, whooping cough and diphtheria remain a threat. And despite the rarity of of these diseases, they can return with a vengeance if children are not vaccinated.
A case in point: after concerns about the whooping cough vaccine in the 1970s and ‘80s, parents stopped vaccinating their children. This led to three epidemics, and at least 100 children died as a result. Further, when Russia’s childhood vaccination programme collapsed during the break-up of the Soviet Union, it triggered a mass epidemic of diphtheria.
In 2013 alone, three new vaccines were introduced:
- childrens' flu vaccine (in the form of a nasal spray)
- rotavirus vaccine (for babies)
- shingles vaccine (for 70-year-olds)
The future of vaccination-
There will be many more potentially lifesaving vaccines developed and distributed in tandem with Pharma Companies in the years to come. Research in this area is thriving, with more than 150 new vaccines currently being tested.
We will soon have an improved pneumococcal vaccine that offers protection against more strains of the disease, a new meningitis B vaccine for babies, and there's promising work being done on longer-lasting vaccines against the flu.