Oct 20, 2008

Are Vaccinations Harmful or Helpful?

This post has little to do with food, but a lot to do with vaccinating children. This is a topic that has become more and more a matter of concern to many, but not all, parents.

My children, now in their 30's at this 2016 update, were vaccinated before I knew that some parents decided not to have their children vaccinated because they believed it caused harmful after-affects; sometimes serious, and occasionally even deadly affects.

I am not going to get into the controversy in this post, you can comment on that if you like. I wanted to share an interesting timeline that I found on a website that no longer exists, I thought you might enjoy seeing how it all started, and progressed through the years....a lot has happened since my children's vaccines in the l980's:


  • First Generation of Vaccines (pre-1950s)
  • 1798 Smallpox
  • 1885 Rabies
  • 1897 Plague
  • 1917 Cholera
  • 1917 Typhoid vaccine (parenteral)
  • 1923 Diphtheria
  • 1926 Pertussis
  • 1927 Tuberculosis (BCG)
  • 1927 Tetanus
  • 1935 Yellow Fever
  • 1940s DTP
  • 1945 The first influenza vaccines (flu) began being used.
  • 1955 Inactivated polio vaccine licensed (IPV).
  • 1955 Tetanus and diphtheria toxoids adsorbed (adult use, Td)
  • 1959 World Health Assembly passes initial resolution calling for global smallpox radication.
  • 1961 Monovalent oral polio vaccine licensed.
  • 1963 Trivalent oral polio vaccine licensed (OPV).
  • 1963 The first measles vaccine licensed.
  • 1964 Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), designed to provide CDC with recommendations on vaccine use, holds its first meeting.
  • 1964-1965 20,000 cases of Congenital Rubella Syndrome occurred during the largest rubella epidemic in the United States.
  • 1966 U.S. Measles eradication goal enunciated.
  • 1967 Mumps vaccine licensed.
  • 1969 Rubella vaccine licensed - 57,600 rubella cases reported this year.
  • 1970 Anthrax vaccine manufactured by the Michigan Department of Public Health.
  • 1971 Routine smallpox vaccination ceases in the United States.
  • 1971 Measles, Mumps, Rubella vaccine licensed (MMR).
  • 1976 Swine Flu: largest public vaccination program in the United States to date; halted by association with Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome.
  • 1977 Last indigenous case of smallpox (Somalia).
  • 1978 Fluzone, the current flu vaccine that is made by Aventis pasteur, was licensed.
  • 1979 Last case of polio, caused by wild virus, acquired in the United States.
  • 1980 Smallpox declared eradicated from the world.
  • 1981 Meningococcal polysaccharide vaccine, groups A, C, Y, W135 combined (Menomune)
  • 1982 Hepatitis B vaccine becomes available.
  • 1983 Pneumococcal vaccine, 23 valent
  • 1986 The National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act establishes a no-fault compensation system for those injured by vaccines and requires adverse health events following specific vaccinations be reported and those injured by vaccines be compensated.
  • 1988 Worldwide Polio Eradication Initiative launched; supported by WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International, CDC and others.
  • 1989-1991 Major resurgence of measles in the United States - 55,000 cases compared with a low of 1,497 cases in 1983. Two-dose measles vaccine (MMR) is recommended.
  • 1990 The Vaccine Adverse Reporting System (VAERS), a national program monitoring the safety of vaccines established.
  • 1990 Haemophilus influenzae type B (Hib) polysaccharide conjugate vaccine licensed for infants.
  • 1990 Typhoid vaccine (oral)
  • 1991 Hepatitis B vaccine recommended for all infants.
  • 1991 Acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP) licensed for use in older children aged 15 months to six years old.
  • 1993 Japanese encephalitis vaccine
  • 1994 Polio elimination certified in the Americas.
  • 1994 Vaccines for Children (VFC) program established to provide access to free vaccines for eligible children at the site of their usual source of care.
  • 1995 First harmonized childhood immunization schedule endorsed by ACIP, the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American Academy of Pediatrics is published.
  • 1995 Varicella vaccine licensed; before the vaccine an estimated 4 million infected annually in the United States.
  • 1995 Hepatitis A vaccine licensed.
  • 1996 Acellular pertussis vaccine (DTaP) licensed for use in young infants.
  • 1998 First rotavirus vaccine licensed.
  • 1999 Rotavirus vaccine withdrawn from the market as a result of adverse events.
  • 1999 Lyme disease vaccine approved by the FDA.
  • 1999 FDA recommends removing mercury from all products, including vaccines. Efforts are begun to remove thimerosal, a mercury based additive, from vaccines.
  • 2000 Worldwide measles initiative launched; 800,000 children still die from measles annually. Measles declared no longer endemic in the United States.
  • 2000 Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (Prevnar) recommended for all young children.
  • 2001 September 11 results in increased concern of bioterrorism. The United States establishes a plan to re-introduce smallpox vaccine if necessary, a vaccine thought never to be needed again.
  • 2002 Lyme disease vaccine withdrawn from the market by the manufacturer because of lawsuits and lack of demand for the vaccine.
  • 2003 Measles declared no longer endemic in the Americas.
  • 2003 First live attenuated influenza vaccine licensed (FluMist) for use in 5 to 49 year old persons.
  • 2003 First Adult Immunization Schedule introduced.
  • 2004 Inactivated influenza vaccine recommended for all children 6 to 23 months of age.
  • 2004 Pediarix,a vaccine that combines the DTaP, IPV, and Hep B vaccines, into one shot, is approved.
  • 2005 Rubella declared no longer endemic in the United States.
  • 2005 Boostrix and Adacel, Tdap vaccines, are approved for teens.
  • 2005 Menactra, a new meningococcal vaccine is approved for people between the ages of 11 to 55 years of age.
  • 2006 RotaTeq is a new rotavirus vaccine from Merck.
  • 2006 ProQuad is a new vaccine that combines the MMR and Varivax vaccines for measles, mumps, rubella, and chicken pox into a single shot.
  • 2006 Gardasil, the first HPV vaccine is approved.

I wonder what they will think of next...or have already thought of. There is no doubt that there are benefits to early vaccinations, those that stopped epidemics, but I am not sure what I think of them for illnesses that were common when I was a child, remedied by being exposed to them and building our own immunity to them...like measles, mumps and chicken pox...all of which I had as a child.

Updated 2/10/16

References: the CDC and Mandell: Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases, 5th ed.


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