History of Vaccines Blog


March 21, 2019  Rene F. Najera

The American Psychological Association has released a study which found evidence that belief in anti-vaccine conspiracies is associated with belief in other conspiracy theories. Read More...

Posted in: General

March 14, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Before the development of vaccines against deadly diseases like smallpox, typhoid fever and measles, public health authorities relied heavily on quarantines in order to stop epidemics from spreading. The concept was simple: keep sick people away from the healthy people. Unfortunately, there were plenty of times where quarantines were broken and the epidemics allowed to continue. Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles, Public Health

March 13, 2019  Rene F. Najera

From BBC, this documentary tells the story of the polio vaccine. Read More...

Posted in: General, Polio

March 12, 2019  Rene F. Najera

We have known that vitamin A supplementation prevents deaths in children from infectious diseases. We also know that a vaccine with an excellent track record of safety prevents measles. However, recent anti-vaccine misinformation has been falsely stating that vitamin A prevents measles when, in fact, it doesn't. Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles

March 10, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Frontline from PBS published a short video on YouTube about the history of mass immunization in the United States. General George Washington ordered his troops to be inoculated against smallpox, even forcing some of them to get the inoculation (variolation). This assured that the Continental Army would remain smallpox-free at a time when the disease was causing a lot of disease and death, and leading to the defeat of the British troops during the War for Independence. Read More...

Posted in: Historical Medical Library, Smallpox

March 7, 2019  Rene F. Najera

In this blog post, Dorit Reiss, PhD, continues her discussion of the Jacobson v. Massachusetts case from 1905 in which the Court upheld the authority of state governments to enforce laws that require their citizens to be immunized. In this second part, Dr. Reiss discusses jurisprudence (decisions by the Court) from the time, noting the similarity and differences between some of the arguments on the different cases. Dr. Reiss is a Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. This is the second of two posts. Click here to read the first. We thank Professor Reiss for her time and expertise in writing this blog post. Read More...

Posted in: General

March 5, 2019  Rene F. Najera

State and local governments in the United States have mandated immunizations as a prerequisite for attending public schools for quite some time. The Supreme Court has heard several challenges to these mandates and has consistently ruled the mandates to be constitutional. In this blog post, Dorit Reiss, PhD, discusses the Jacobson v. Massachusetts case from 1905 in which the Court upheld the authority of state governments to enforce laws that require their citizens to be immunized. Dr. Reiss is a Professor of Law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Read More...

Posted in: General

March 4, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Two weeks ago, Representative Adam Schiff sent a letter to Facebook and Google asking for more action on anti-vaccine misinformation being shared through their platforms. In response, Facebook pledged to alter their algorithms so that anti-vaccine information was not immediately shown when searching for information on vaccines. For its part, Google announced that anti-vaccine videos on YouTube — it’s video-hosting service — would not be able to make money from advertising. That eliminated a significant source of revenue for many individuals and organizations who seem to make a living from spreading misinformation about vaccines. Yet another social media platform, Pinterest, blocked all searches for vaccine-related terms on its site. Pinterest users can still post misinformation, but it is harder for the general public to find it. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce held hearings last week on the current resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases in the United States... Read More...

Posted in: General

March 2, 2019  Rene F. Najera

A group of friends and colleagues of Adel Mahmoud, MD, PhD, (1941-1918) gathered at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia on February 27, 2019, to remember Dr. Mahmoud's legacy. He was remembered as a colleague who would have great discussions and debates with his peers on issues related to science in general and immunizations in particular. Some remembered him as the kind and wise professor who mentored public health students at Princeton and medical students at Case Western Reserve University. He was described as the consummate professional at Merck and in his collaboration with different government institutions like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health. Read More...

Posted in: General, Vaccine Research

February 28, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Mae C. Jemison, MD, was the first Black woman to go into space, but that was only one of her many achievements. From a very young age, Dr. Jemison showed the aptitude for all things scientific. She entered college at age 16, graduating with a degree in chemical engineering and Afro-American studies. By the age of 25, in 1981, Dr. Jemison graduated from medical school, traveling to West Africa as a medical officer with the Peace Corps and then on to a medical practice in Los Angeles. Read More...

Posted in: General