History of Vaccines Blog


Abril 13, 2019  Rene F. Najera

New human trials on a universal influenza vaccine are underway, but that's not the only new technology coming down the pike... Read more...

Posted in: General, Influenza, Vaccine Research

Febrero 8, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Anti-vaccine sentiment as brought back measles in a big way to the United States and Europe. In Madagascar, a measles epidemic rages on with tens of thousands of cases. In Venezuela, the collapse of the public health system has brought back measles and diphtheria, both vaccine-preventable diseases. And the US is facing peak influenza activity this week. All of this, in this week's news update... Read more...

Posted in: Diphtheria, General, Influenza, Measles, Public Health

Febrero 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

Enero 2, 2019  Rene F. Najera

A lot has changed since the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, but did you know that it lasted well into 1919? Read on to see how that went and what we're doing in 2019 to keep ahead of influenza... Read more...

Posted in: General, Influenza

Noviembre 23, 2018  Rene F. Najera

There were a lot of vaccine-related news in the world. Here are some of our top picks for you... Read more...

Posted in: General, Influenza, Measles, Vaccine Research

Septiembre 26, 2018  Karie Youngdahl

When people write about the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918-19, they usually start with the staggering global death toll, the huge number of people who were infected with the pandemic virus, and the inability of the medical field to do anything to help the infected. And while those factors were hallmarks of the devastating episode, researchers and health workers in the United States and Europe were confidently devising vaccines and immunizing hundreds of thousands of people in what amounted to a medical experiment on the grandest scale. What were the vaccines they came up with? Did they do anything to protect the immunized and halt the spread of the disease? First, the numbers. In 1918 the US population was 103.2 million. During the three waves of the Spanish Influenza pandemic between spring 1918 and spring 1919, about 200 of every 1000 people contracted influenza (about 20.6 million). Between 0.8% (164,800) and 3.1% (638,000) of those infected died from influenza or pneumonia secondary to it.  Read more...

Posted in: General, Historical Medical Library, Influenza, Public Health

Septiembre 19, 2018  Karie Youngdahl

Today's blog post about Spanish Influenza in Philadelphia is by College of Physicians of Philadelphia Librarian Beth Lander. Please join us at the Mütter Museum on September 29, 2018, for an event to commemorate the 100-year anniversary of beginning of the pandemic in Philadelphia. On September 7, 1918, 300 sailors arrived in Philadelphia from Boston, where, two weeks earlier, soldiers and sailors began to be hospitalized with a disease characterized as pneumonia, meningitis, or influenza. The sailors were stationed at the Philadelphia Naval Yard. On September 11, 19 sailors reported to sickbay with symptoms of “influenza.” By September 15, more than 600 servicemen required hospitalization. Physicians and other public health workers in Philadelphia first met on September 18 with city officials to discuss what they perceived as a growing threat. Public health officials demanded that the city be quarantined – all public spaces, including schools, churches, parks, any place people could congregate, should be closed. City officials did not want to create panic. They were more concerned that local support for President Wilson’s efforts in World War I should not be disturbed. Anything that would damage morale – or the city’s ability to raise the millions in Liberty Loans required by federal quota – was unacceptable. Read more...

Posted in: Historical Medical Library, Influenza, Public Health

Septiembre 10, 2018  Karie Youngdahl

Today's blog post is by John D. Grabenstein, RPh, PhD, Executive Director, Global Vaccines Medical Affairs, Merck Research Laboratories. He has published widely on the history of vaccine development, immunization policy, and pneumococcal and smallpox vaccination, among other topics. Trains were the primary mode of transportation; the trains stopped running. So many people died, cities ran out of wood for coffins. Churches cancelled services to slow the contagion. Hospitals across America erected canvas tents to cope with unprecedented numbers of patients. Despite desperate and contradictory advice on how to quell the epidemic, no medical effort existed that could help the people.  Read more...

Posted in: Influenza, Public Health

Marzo 16, 2018  Karie Youngdahl

Welcome to Global Teen Health Week 2018! Today is the second day of this third annual observance, and the first year that THW is global. Every day of THW has a different focus, and today's theme is Preventive Health and Vaccines. We know that teens have questions about vaccines, and so we held an event at the South Philadelphia Library, in conjunction with the Vaccine Education Center of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the library's youth programs, and one of our youth programs, the Karabots Junior Fellows. Teens played a trivia game with the Karabots Junior Fellows education and then had a question-and-answer session with Kristen Feemster, MD, MSHP, of the VEC and the Philadelphia Department of Health. Teen videographers filmed the event and put together this video together. We hope you'll watch and share and join in the activities around Global Teen Health Week! Read more...

Posted in: General, HPV, Influenza

Febrero 9, 2018  Karie Youngdahl

We're going to have to wait for some good news about this influenza season. That was the message at the close of another reporting week from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Acting Director Anne Schuchat. On a conference call to release updated influenza numbers for the week ending February 3, Schuchat told participants that key indicators for influenza activity have continued to increase. In fact, Schuchat noted, we may be on track to surpass recent records for flu activity. A key indicator of flu activity is the proportion of outpatient and emergency department visits attributed to influenza-like illness (ILI). That proportion for last week was 7.7%, higher than seen at the peak of the 2003-4 season (7.6%) and as high as the peak of the 2009-10 pandemic influenza season. The rate of hospitalizations was 59.9 per 100,000 population. Read more...

Posted in: Influenza, Public Health