History of Vaccines Blog


May 13, 2019  Rene F. Najera

We had the pleasure of hosting a table at the Kensington Derby and Arts Festival on May 11, 2019. The festival is held every year in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood, and it includes a “kinetic sculpture” race as well as vendors offering goods and services. Our table was in “Kid’s Science Corner,” and we were approached by a wide variety of people. Read More...

Posted in: General

May 6, 2019  Robert Hicks

In recent years, we have posted a blog about survivals of early smallpox scabs in archival collections today (see “A Scab Story”), and in a follow-up blog, “A Scab Story Bites Back,” we described the discovery of several 19th century smallpox vaccination kits in our museum collection. These kits showed visible residue on glass slides from lymph taken from pustules on infected human bodies and desiccated scab material. Since the last report, we have begun to correspond with other European and American collections with early vaccination tools that could be assayed for residue. Our own kits were examined first by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and then via the World Health Organization to Canada’s McMaster University. At this writing, the analysis of the kits continues: exciting results will be reported in “Revenge of the Scab Story,” forthcoming. Read More...

Posted in: General, Smallpox

May 3, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Buzzfeed News recently made an assessment of the 2020 presidential candidates’ stances on vaccination. They concluded that all of the declared candidates so far are in agreement that parents should vaccinate their children when vaccination is recommended. Some of their statements were nuanced, while others made blanket statements of approval of vaccines. Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles

April 29, 2019  Rene F. Najera

C-SPAN recently posted this video of a Public Health Service and Merck collaboration to inform the people about measles back in 1964. It's about 20 minutes long, and gives us a glimpse of what public health authorities were informing the public about when it came to measles. Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles

April 27, 2019  Rene F. Najera

A quick video from NBC's "Stay Tuned" on YouTube explaining what vaccines are and what the anti-vaccine movement is. Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles

April 26, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Yes, vaccines cost money, but they save more money on average and in the long run by keeping children healthy. Health children mean less time off from work for parents, and a healthier and more productive workforce in the future. Read More...

Posted in: General

April 21, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Some of the misinformation regarding vaccines includes an argument that vaccines have not been tested against a saline placebo in a double-blinded randomized clinical trial. This misinformation is aimed at confusing the wealth of evidence regarding the safety and effectiveness of immunizations. In this blog post, we will explain what a blinded randomized clinical trial is, when this study design has been used in the development of immunizations, and why it is not used as often anymore. Read More...

Posted in: Ethics, General, Measles, Vaccine Research

April 19, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Feel like reading a good book or two, or three? Here are three good recommendations, no strings attached. Read More...

Posted in: General

April 15, 2019  Rene F. Najera

How do vaccines go from an idea to market in the United States in the modern era? Here is a video from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describing the process. Read More...

Posted in: General

April 14, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Over 1,200 people are reported dead in Madagascar from a measles epidemic that started last September. Most of the dead are children, and parents are going through a lot to get them vaccinated and avoid the disease. Meanwhile, in the United States, anti-vaccine groups and individuals have convinced several state legislators to introduce bills to make it easier to skip childhood vaccinations. Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles