History of Vaccines Blog


June 23, 2019  Rene F. Najera

More deaths from measles than from Ebola have been reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo, most of them in children. So which disease is worse? Which should be addressed first? Read more...

Posted in: Ethics, General, Measles, Public Health

June 21, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Infectious diseases have been with humans from the very beginning, and they travel with humans to this day. What's worse, our intelligence allows us to spread these diseases farther and faster than ever before. Read more...

Posted in: General, Measles, Public Health

March 14, 2019  Rene F. Najera

Before the development of vaccines against deadly diseases like smallpox, typhoid fever and measles, public health authorities relied heavily on quarantines in order to stop epidemics from spreading. The concept was simple: keep sick people away from the healthy people. Unfortunately, there were plenty of times where quarantines were broken and the epidemics allowed to continue. Read more...

Posted in: General, Measles, Public Health

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 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

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

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

December 3, 2018  Rene F. Najera

The recent death of a university student from an adenovirus infection has brought the virus and the disease it causes into the limelight, along with questions about the existing vaccine that is only given to military service members at this time. Read more...

Posted in: General, Public Health

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