The Top Five Vaccines That Weren’t Around 100 Years Ago

We have the luxury of taking for granted the amazing advances that have come about in a relatively short period of time. In the 1870’s the first house had electricity, in the 1910’s the first car was available. And the first transatlantic flight was made in 1927. Technology is getting better at quicker rates today.

A little more than a century ago, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 20 percent. The childhood mortality rate before five was another 20 percent. Today, vaccines have drastically lowered those horrible rates.

5. MMR Vaccine

The MMR vaccine is an immunization shot against mumps, measles, and rubella (or German measles). It was first developed in the late 1960s. Before the use of this vaccine, measles was almost inevitable for children, and all three diseases were widespread and highly contagious. Today, measles, mumps and rubella are all but unheard of in the developed world.

4. Polio Vaccine

There are two polio vaccines that are used throughout the world to defeat poliomyetilis. The first came about in 1952, in the midst of massive polio outbreaks. In 1952 and 1953 the U.S. was experiencing outbreaks of 58,000 and 35,000, respectively. The typical number in those days was about 20,000 cases a year–so researchers were determined to find a cure.

Crippling children, and highly contagious from person to person, polio was a huge epidemic in the U.S. and worldwide. Thanks to the vaccines, polio has been eliminated from most countries in the world, and the worldwide incidence has been reduced to a under two thousand cases a year today.

3. Tetanus Booster

A simple case of tetanus can result in ‘lockjaw’ or muscle paralysis, which can cause death. This disease is potentially deadly because the poison, called tetanospasmin, attacks the nervous system blocking nerve signals from the spinal cord to muscles.

Discovered and produced in 1924, the tetanus booster served well in the military to protect soldiers during World War II. Although there have been improvements over the years, this remains a staple in modern vaccines, protecting adults and children alike from this deadly poison.

2. HPV Vaccine

The human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine prevents infection that often results in cervical cancer, genital warts, and other less common cancers.  HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in adults worldwide. By age fifty, more than 80 percent of American women will have contracted at least one strain.

Although there has been controversy around the U.S. legislation created to make this vaccine mandatory for those in school attendance, this vaccine is a major breakthrough in the field.

1. HIV Vaccine

No discussion of vaccines is complete without the HIV vaccine. At the moment, there is no effective vaccine against HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. However, there is evidence that a vaccine may be possible in the near future.

Work with monoclonal antibodies has proven that human bodies can fend off HIV, and certain individuals remain without symptoms for decades after HIV infection. Although there is still much research to be done, this vaccine is thought to be one of the next huge breakthroughs coming in vaccination history.

We can only hope that the amazing life-saving history of biological blood products [], specifically vaccines, continues on the fast-paced path it has been on.

Drew Hendricks
Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He's written for many major publishers such as National Geographic and Technorati.

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