History of Vaccines Blog


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

February 26, 2019  Rene F. Najera

An invitation to join an anti-vaccination group in 1902 is very similar to common invitations to join. The main difference is the medium used, from paper then to social media today. Read More...

Posted in: General, Historical Medical Library

February 24, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Pinterest, Google and Facebook have taken some steps in curtailing anti-vaccine misinformation. This may be only the first steps in a wider campaign to prevent the spread of misinformation that has resulted in the increased rates of vaccine non-compliance and resulting epidemics of vaccine-preventable diseases. Read More...

Posted in: General

February 21, 2019  Rene F. Najera

From the description of the video: "Fewer children in the United States are getting vaccinated. That’s bad news for those kids, and also for public health in general. Often, the response is to argue and debate and get angry at people who are we see as making terrible, irrational decisions. Instead of doing that, let’s use science to understand why this is happening in the first place. Hosted by: Hank Green" Read More...

Posted in: General

February 20, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Measles has been plaguing humanity since around the 12th Century AD. It used to be that the lack of medical care and a vaccine were what caused the epidemics of measles. Today, the causes are mostly due to the human condition: to believing myths, spreading misinformation, inequalities in the delivery of healthcare and public health services, and the willingness of some people to make a buck off the fears of those who are not equipped to know better. Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles, Public Health

February 17, 2019  Rene F. Najera

In the fourth of our explainer videos, we take a closer look at the evidence we have for vaccine efficacy and effectiveness. Efficacy and effectiveness are measures of vaccine performance, and they come from different kinds of experimental and observational studies. Read on to know more... Read More...

Posted in: General, Measles