How Vaccines Improved Our World In One Graphic

In 1796, the British doc­tor Edward Jen­ner devel­oped the first vac­cine to fight a con­ta­gious disease–in this par­tic­u­lar case, the small­pox virus. Since then vac­cines have helped erad­i­cate, or firm­ly con­trol, a long list of diseases–everything from diph­the­ria and the measles, to rubel­la and polio. Designed by Leon Far­rant in 2011, the info­graph­ic above reminds us of the mir­a­cles brought by vac­cines, show­ing the degree to which they’ve tamed 14 crip­pling dis­eases. Before too long, we hope COVID-19 will be added to the list.

For the data used to make the graph­ic, vis­it this doc­u­ment online.

via @NeilGaiman

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Roald Dahl, Who Lost His Daugh­ter to Measles, Writes a Heart­break­ing Let­ter about Vac­ci­na­tions: “It Real­ly Is Almost a Crime to Allow Your Child to Go Unim­mu­nised”

How Do Vac­cines (Includ­ing the COVID-19 Vac­cines) Work?: Watch Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tions

19th Cen­tu­ry Maps Visu­al­ize Measles in Amer­i­ca Before the Mir­a­cle of Vac­cines

How Fast Can a Vac­cine Be Made?: An Ani­mat­ed Intro­duc­tion

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  • Alan says:

    The his­to­ry pre-Jen­ner is also fas­ci­nat­ing. See Steven Shap­in’s review, A Pox on the Poor in a recent LRB:‑pox-on-the-poor:

    “In fact, by the time British doc­tors encoun­tered Turk­ish small­pox prac­tices, inoc­u­la­tion was nei­ther new nor did it belong to West­ern sci­ence. For cen­turies the Chi­nese had been blow­ing dried, ground-up small­pox mate­r­i­al up the nose, and Arabs had been intro­duc­ing pus under the skin. Inoc­u­la­tion had long been wide­spread in North and sub-Saha­ran Africa. In Boston, inoc­u­la­tion was intro­duced dur­ing a small­pox out­break in 1721, pro­mot­ed by the Puri­tan min­is­ter Cot­ton Math­er, who learned of the prac­tice from his recent­ly acquired slave – ‘my Negro-man Ones­imus, who is a pret­ty Intel­li­gent Fel­low’. Ones­imus had been inoc­u­lat­ed him­self and told Math­er that it was com­mon prac­tice in his African home­land – pos­si­bly the area that is now Ghana. ‘Who­ev­er had ye Courage to use it,’ he said, ‘was for­ev­er free from the Fear of ye Con­ta­gion.’ The Brah­mins in India had used inoc­u­la­tion for hun­dreds of years, maybe longer, and there were reports of inoc­u­la­tion in 17th-cen­tu­ry Den­mark, Switzer­land and Poland. Inoc­u­la­tion had arrived in Con­stan­tino­ple only decades before Lady Mary’s vis­it, brought by Cir­cass­ian and Geor­gian traders, who may have learned it from either East­ern or African sources. And as ear­ly as 1600, inoc­u­la­tion was folk med­ical prac­tice in Pem­brokeshire, where it was pop­u­lar­ly known as ‘buy­ing the pocks’.”

    Also Jen­ner had his own anti-vax­ers” do a search for James Gill­ray’s vac­ci­na­tion car­toon from 1802.

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