Saving millions of lives each year, vaccines are one of the greatest achievements in medicine and public health. Vaccines have eradicated smallpox, almost eradicated polio, and significantly reduced and controlled many other childhood diseases. Smallpox has been one of the most devastating diseases known to man. Smallpox goes back to the times of ancient Egypt and has plagued societies around the world since. In 1796, Edward Jenner discovered the small pox vaccine, which was the first vaccine ever and was made from cows (Salmon). Because of vaccination the last case of smallpox in the United States was in 1948 and the last case in the world was in Somalia in 1977 (Vaccines). Smallpox is eradicated, meaning that it no longer existing anywhere in the world. We no longer have to vaccinate people for smallpox. Every year 29,004 deaths from smallpox in the United States are avoided (Vaccines). In addition to these deaths people no longer have scars from smallpox, children no longer suffer, and no one spends money treating cases.
Polio will likely be the next disease to be eradicated. Our grandparents were so afraid of polio that they wouldn’t let their children go to movie theaters or swimming pools. Albert Sabin and Jonas Salk developed polio vaccines in the 1950’s that has eliminated polio in the US and most of the world (Salmon). According to UNICEF, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 1988, which was brought down to 500