History of Vaccines Blog


October 26, 2018  Rene F. Najera

It's Friday, so it's time to go around the news and gather for you the most notable headlines regarding vaccines. Sit back, grab your favorite beverage, and read on... Read More...

Posted in: General

October 25, 2018  Rene F. Najera

There are anti-vaccine people, and then there are anti-vaccine people. That is, people who are against vaccines don't all fall into one neat category. They are parents and caregivers who are skeptical of the claims and the science behind vaccination for one reason or another. However, the "common anti-vaxxer," whom I define as someone who has nothing to gain from being anti-vaccine and who has genuine questions about vaccination, needs to be understood and listened to. Understanding how the common anti-vaccine person thinks can help us do a better job of educating the public about the history, science and benefits to public health that vaccines have been for centuries. When we can do so effectively, we can re-classify the common anti-vaccine person into a new category... Read More...

Posted in: General

October 24, 2018  Rene F. Najera

"It had been so long since anyone had seen this disease, the British had forgotten how to prevent it. When we create such effective solutions, we can forget how serious the problems were." In this week's video, It's Okay To Be Smart from PBS talks about how we know that vaccines work, and why we know that they do. The first couple of minutes show a historical perspective on scurvy and how the British forgot that vitamin C (ascorbic acid) prevented scurvy. They didn't take any citrus fruits with them on an expedition to the South Pole, and... Well, you'll see. The same thing is true with vaccines. They have been so effective over their history that many of us have not seen an actual person with, say, polio. (There has not been a case of polio acquired in the United States since 1979.) So check out the video... Read More...

Posted in: General

October 19, 2018  Rene F. Najera

Grab a cup of your favorite drink and sit back to read the latest news in the world of vaccines and vaccine science. This week: More children in the United States are not vaccinated. A small, but vocal group of parents shut down a vaccine education program in Arizona. A state senate race in California now includes a debate on vaccination mandates. A vaccine researcher and parent of an autistic child explains in an interview why vaccines didn't cause his child's autism. Some students are asking for exemptions to vaccine requirements at a university in Texas. Read More...

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October 18, 2018  Rene F. Najera

With only a few weeks to go before the midterm elections, I've noticed more and more vaccine-related news having to do with the views and opinions of candidates for office. For example, in Oregon, The Daily Beast is reporting that the Republican candidate for governor "wants weaker vaccine laws": "Knute Buehler, a physician who currently serves as a state representative, responded to a recorded question about vaccinations by saying that he backed parental rights to opt out even absent a medical basis for doing so. “As a physician, I certainly believe in the benefits of vaccination but I also think that parents should have the right to opt out,” Buehler said. “To opt out for personal beliefs, for religious beliefs or even if they have strong alternative medical beliefs. And that has been beneficial. I think that gives people option and choice and that’s the policy I would continue to pursue as Oregon’s governor.” Buehler’s answer is at odds with the vast majority of medical literature, which touts the necessity of a social contract around vaccinations in helping to stop the re-emergence or spreading of infectious diseases. Under current Oregon law, parents are able to exempt children from vaccination under specific circumstances: that they talk to a medical provider or watch an online video about the benefits of vaccines." Read More...

Posted in: General, Public Health

October 12, 2018  Rene F. Najera

It’s Friday, so sit back, relax, and read up on some vaccine-related news. This week, we tell you about some new research on the community-level impact of vaccinating elementary school children against influenza, how authorities in San Diego are dealing with an outbreak of bacterial meningitis, and news on vaccine research against Rabies, Lassa Fever and Ebola. Read More...

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October 10, 2018  Rene F. Najera

You've probably heard the story of Edward Jenner and his smallpox vaccine a million times. Here's a quick animated video re-telling the story of Dr. Jenner's discovery and he tested his hypothesis. Read More...

Posted in: General

October 8, 2018  Rene F. Najera

Once in a while, a vaccine comes along that is capable of saving millions of lives. For example, the rotavirus vaccine prevents about half a million deaths from diarrhea in children, according to some estimates. Another vaccine that is making history is the HPV vaccine. Not only does it prevent genital warts, it also prevents cancer. The way it does this is by preventing an HPV infection that causes changes at the cellular level in different kinds of tissues that the Human Papillomavirus infects. Those changes lead to the activation of what are called "oncogenes," genes that tell the cell to start multiplying out of control, leading to cancer. Now comes news that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has expanded the use of Gardasil 9, a vaccine against Human Papillomavirus (HPV), to be given to people up to the age of 45. Read More...

Posted in: General

October 5, 2018  Rene F. Najera

Every week, we trawl the different news services for anything related to vaccines, vaccine science, and vaccine-preventable diseases. Here is a quick synthesis of some of most notable news. (All from reliable sources.) Read More...

Posted in: General

October 4, 2018  Rene F. Najera

Hello! My name is René F. Najera, and I’m an epidemiologist. Well, I’m a lot of things, like father, husband, and brother, but my profession is epidemiologist. Epidemiology is the study of that which comes upon the people. By “that,” we mean those diseases and conditions that threaten health and wellbeing. These could be everything from infectious diseases to chronic conditions like diabetes or even poverty. We take information from all available sources, analyze it, and then put it to work. Once in a while, we go to “hot spots” to fight outbreaks and such. If my name sounds familiar to you, it’s because I’ve written for History of Vaccines before... Read More...

Posted in: General