Vaccinations have saved more than 10 million lives since 1962

CHICAGO — It was once a simple and largely unquestioned office procedure. Parents took their tots to the doctor to become vaccinated against highly contagious diseases like the measles, mumps, chicken pox and polio.

And families – and the world at large — were better off for it.

Not anymore, apparently.

With everyone from Hollywood celebrities and politicians like Rand Paul perpetuating discredited claims that vaccines increase the risk of autism in children, public anxiety over vaccinations has grown – and so has public resistance.

The new trend has many public health specialists worried – and none more than Leonard Hayflick, a longtime biologist at the University of California at San Francisco who first made human vaccines widely available – back in 1962. His development of the normal human cell strain was paramount in the production of vaccines against more than 10 diseases.

Hayflick in 2017 published a study with a colleague at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to document the millions of lives saved by his pioneering work over a half century ago.

“Given the acknowledged large, positive global health impact of vaccines in general, I was curious what contribution my discovery….had in saving lives and reducing morbidity, since a large number of viral vaccines in use today are made with my cell strain or its derivatives,” Hayflick says in a UIC release.

At Hayflick’s behest, S. Jay Olshansky, professor of epidemiology in the UIC School of Public Health, reviewed the prevalence and morbidity rates for 10 common viruses in 1960 prior to the development of effective vaccines. He then estimated the number of virus cases that would have developed and the deaths that would have occurred if vaccines had not become available.

According to Olshansky’s calculations, thanks to vaccines, 4.5 billion virus cases were averted and 10.3 million lives saved worldwide – including 2.7 billion and 6.2 million, respectively, in Asia alone. In the United States, about 200 million cases were averted and 450,000 lives saved.

Hayflick’s hoping the sheer weight of the historical evidence might help soothe the public’s growing anxiety.

But to date pro-vaccine public health campaigns have not had much impact – in fact, there’s evidence they’ve actually backfired. A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2014 found that parents previously unaware of the autism vaccination controversy were becoming more anxious due to the publicity and were less likely to get their children vaccinated.

Opposition to vaccination has already been blamed for a major multi-state outbreak in Anaheim, California in early 2015. And vaccination rates for some of the most dangerous childhood diseases, including whooping cough, may be falling to dangerous levels, studies show.

“If the anti-vaccination movement gains any additional traction, developed and developing nations will have taken a dangerous step backward in protecting public health, especially of children,” Hayflick says.

“There is no medication, lifestyle change, public health innovation, or medical procedure ever developed that has even come close to the life-saving, life-extending, and primary prevention benefits associated with vaccines,” he adds.

Olshansky’s research was supported by a grant from the MacArthur Foundation. The study is published in AIMS Public Health.

Comments

  1. One thing that no one ever mentions is the unintended consequences of vaccines. While, yes they do benefit society by averting infections and death related to that one specific virus; what if those same viruses staved off other health issues later on in life or if the vaccine caused a mutation of that virus into something more deadly? As an example of benefits, they have found that the reovirus kills fast-growing gliomas (brain cancer) and the Zika virus kills glioblastoma cancer stem cells. Also, are we causing potential worse problems, similar to how antibiotic abuse has created
    deadly strains of bacteria now resistant to medicine. In our human arogance we’ve come to the opinion that all these viruses are bad because of the primary effect without any study or real understanding of secondary effects. In other words, we’ve set out to solve a problem that might not have been a problem, but actually a benefit to a human body’s future health. In a complexe ecosystem such as the human body, we unfortunately don’t know what we don’t know, so we fake like we know what’s best usually in the name of corporate profit.

  2. It should say since 1962 many people have delayed their death or died from other causes. Since 1962 2.9 billion people have died. I’m sure many of the vaccinated were among those. And all the ones with vaccinations now will meet a similar fate.

  3. But how many lives have vaccines taken? Why are drug companies immune from lawsuits for wrongful death from vaccines? Why did my mother in law develop pericarditis that the doctor says was a direct result of her flu vaccine? Why did her husband develop AML leukemia two weeks after receiving a flu vaccine and on the same day that he got a CBC that showed he was in perfect health?

  4. Vaccines have killed far more than they will ever saved. I am contesting that there can be NO legitimate way to tell if vaccines ever saved anyone. Big Pharma and the vaccines are THE biggest lie perpetrating on the public since fluoride.

  5. You kidding? 10 million? Is that all ? Jenner’s small pox vaccince (or its current derivative) has saved 10 million people by itself since 1962. never mind the 80? or so years before.

    And of course there have been side effects that probably outweigh this measly(pun) 10 million figure a lot. Though they have save a lot more , I know. Wish I could get a nice “doctorate level” NGO grant just to spit out some bogus research that looks highly suspect on its face. 100 million saved and over 10 million affected by side effects is probably far closer and still low. Mac foundation needs to higher better researchers, or a statistician to check the bigger picture IMO

  6. Vaccines have increased illness. People were much healthier before vaccinations. Explain why infant mortality is so high in the US. Why are allergies, autoimmune disorders , food intolerance’s and cancer are so high when those thing used to be rare. It is considered anecdotal evidence that the rates of those increased as vaccine rates increased. When there is that much anecdotal evidence it means there are questions that need answered.

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