In recent times people have been reminded of the importance of vaccines in our lives. Vaccines are a product of necessity and are created to fight the deadliest diseases present. With medical advancements being made every day and quality of life, improving globally, we were in a place of complacency.

The COVID-19 pandemic shook the world, and the medical industry was in chaos. After over a year, countries like Russia, the USA and India created their versions of vaccines. Even though the COVID vaccines have not eradicated the virus, it reduces mortality and permanent damage by a decent margin.

History of vaccines

Some evidence suggests that a very rudimentary form of vaccination was conducted in China, Africa and Turkey in 100CE. The Chinese practised inoculation or variolation against diseases like smallpox.

Although, as far as factual documented history is concerned, Edward Jenner is the father of vaccines. His research and study came to fruition in 1796. The method Jenner used was not invented by him, but he was the first person to find success.

He managed to fight the epidemic of smallpox with the help of cowpox. He would procure biological material from the pustules of a person infected with cowpox. He would then inject this material and inoculate the cowpox in another person’s arm, making it arm-to-arm inoculation.

He was not able to cure smallpox in his time. His study and methods were developed and improved with the evolving technology over the next 200 years. By the 1940s, the technology had evolved enough to mass-produce the smallpox vaccine and eradicate it shortly.

Soon after Edward Jenner’s feat, the vaccine for polio was created in 1955. The world was desperately looking for this solution, and the scientist behind the vaccine was treated like a hero.

Here is a list of recommended vaccines at present (2020 update):

  • Diphtheria*
  • Tetanus*
  • Pertussis*
  • Measles**
  • Mumps**
  • Rubella**
  • Polio (IPV)
  • Hib
  • Hepatitis B
  • Varicella
  • Hepatitis A
  • Pneumococcal
  • Influenza
  • Rotavirus

(*) Given in combination as DTaP

(**)Given in combination as MMR

Some important facts

  • The measles vaccine has saved more than twenty-one million lives around the globe since 2000. Although, due to multiple issues, the number of cases has increased tremendously over the past few years.
  • As mentioned above, polio was a severe epidemic that needed to be controlled. From a whopping 350000 cases a year, it dropped to thirty-three cases in 2018. The polio campaign was targeted aggressively all over the world, and the numbers prove it.
  • WHO is currently working on a vaccine to fight against malaria. It is a dangerous parasitic infection that kills over 435,000 people each year.

The past year has taught us that most people are unaware of the facts of vaccines and immunization. Most governments have had to battle a push back from the population that believes in outrageous myths about vaccinations. It is necessary you always stay informed, especially in times of crisis.

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