The History of Vaccines: A Glance Behind and a Look Ahead
A pediatrician evaluates the past and future of kids' inoculations
As parents, we want happy, long, and healthy lives for our kids, and today’s children are more likely than ever to avoid life-threatening illnesses as they benefit from one of modern medicine’s greatest developments—vaccinations.
In 1900, the life expectancy in America was 48 years, while today it is approximately 77 years. Improved nutrition, sanitation, and hygiene account for some of this remarkable achievement, as does a better understanding of diseases and the ability to take a pre-emptive strike against them with vaccines.
Most American children today have never seen anyone with the likes of polio or measles or diphtheria, the big killers of their great-grandparents’ generation. Just how dramatically has the landscape changed since our ancestors were born? Take a primer in vaccination history and learn why we owe our forbearers a debt of gratitude for being part of the vaccine campaigns that have changed history.
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