History of Vaccines Blog


February 6, 2019  Rene F. Najera

The situation in Washington State is getting worse with respect to the measles outbreak that started there last December. Public health authorities are reporting that over 50 children have now been confirmed as measles cases, with the vast majority of them being unvaccinated. (The rest have either received one vaccination, don’t have a vaccine record, or were too young to be vaccinated.) This is happening as there are now reports of a nascent measles outbreak in Houston, Texas. Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles

February 3, 2019  Rene F. Najera

It's Black History Month, 2019, and we will be presenting to you some blog posts narrating the contributions of African Americans to the history of vaccines in the United States and elsewhere. We begin the month with an account of Onesimus, an African slave taken to Boston and put in the services of Cotton Mather, a Puritan minister. Onesimus, like other slaves, had received variolation back home. His account of what happened to people receiving variolation in Africa prompted Cotton Mather to push for variolation in New England in order to save people from death by smallpox during the epidemics that periodically hit when smallpox was brought into Boston. Read More...

Posted in: General, Smallpox

February 1, 2019  Rene F. Najera

It's time again for our weekly news roundup, where we bring you some of the most relevant news in the world of vaccines. Read More...

Posted in: General, Influenza, Measles

January 30, 2019  Rene F. Najera

The social and political situation in Venezuela is dire, and it is the result of several things gone wrong. The collapse of public institutions has led to the collapse of public health, and that has triggered the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases into Venezuela's neighbors. Thankfully, Colombia is doing something about it by immunizing refugees at the border, making sure everyone -- especially children -- are up to date on their immunizations. Featured image via Foter.com Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles, Public Health

January 28, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Like all medical interventions, vaccines have side-effects. In this blog post, we talk about recent evidence that the rotavirus vaccine prevents type I diabetes in some populations, and previoys research showing that the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis lowers blood glucose (sugar) levels in adult type I diabetics. Photo by .:[ Melissa ]:. on Foter.com / CC BY Read More...

Posted in: General, Public Health, Rotavirus

January 25, 2019  Rene F. Najera

This week, we cover news of two big measles outbreaks, on in Washington State and one in New York City. We also cover an opinion piece giving us some background on the influenza vaccine, the politics thereof, and the hunt for a better influenza vaccine. Speaking of politics, there is also news of low immunization rates in Texas, and a vaccine champion puts up a billboard sign in Colorado to encourage people to follow vaccine recommendations. Read More...

Posted in: General

January 25, 2019  Rene F. Najera

In the third video of the series, I talk to you about "herd immunity," now known as "community immunity." It is an epidemiological concept that comes with several caveats. Read More...

Posted in: Public Health

January 23, 2019  Rene F. Najera

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared vaccine hesitancy as one of the top ten global health priorities for 2019. The reasons why there is so much vaccine are complex, and they vary from country to country and even within countries. So what could be done? A lot, actually. We'll see what public health can come up with to face this threat... Read More...

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January 17, 2019  Rene F. Najera

This is the second part of a series of explainers looking at what vaccines have done to and for human populations since their invention in the late 1700's. (Click here for part one.) In this second part, we talk about a few simple concepts that are necessary to understand how vaccines work. We review virology, bacteriology, immunology, chemistry, toxicology and the basic reproduction number. It's about 20 minutes. Read More...

Posted in: General

January 9, 2019  Rene F. Najera

I've decided to create a very simple and quick series on the epidemiology of vaccines. That is, the study of how vaccines have affected populations. Here is the first video, with more coming soon. Read More...

Posted in: General