The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Vaccines have saved more human lives than any medical inventions in history

In 1985 the first vaccine against diseases caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is licensed, after David H Smith founds a company to produce it. Smith and Porter W Anderson Jr had been working together
on a vaccination since 1968.

In 1980 the World Health Assembly, acting on recommendation from the WHO Global Commission for the Certification of Smallpox Eradication, declares smallpox eradicated: “The world and all its people have won freedom from smallpox, which was the most devastating disease sweeping in epidemic form through many countries since earliest times, leaving death, blindness and disfigurement in its wake.” From 1970s to 1980s in the USA, whooping cough cases hit an all-time low in 1976. But the success of the pertussis vaccine is hampered by a decline in uptake: with so few whooping cough cases, fears about rare but serious side effects of the whole-cell vaccine start to outweigh fears of the disease itself. In 1985 the first vaccine against diseases caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib) is licensed, after David H Smith founds a company to produce it. Smith and Porter W Anderson Jr had been working together on a vaccination since 1968. In 1988 following the eradication of smallpox, WHO sets its sights on poliomyelitis, launching a Global Polio Eradication Initiative. In the late 1980s, polio is endemic in 125 countries, and the initiative aims to achieve its eradication by the year 2000. By 1994, polio is eradicated from the Americas, followed by Europe in 2002, and by 2003 the disease is endemic in just 6 countries. The effort continues. In 1995 Anne Szarewski leads a team who outline the role of human papillomavirus (HPV) in cervical cancer detection and screening, and researchers begin work on an HPV vaccine. HPV viruses are very common, often with minimal symptoms, but high-risk HPV strains can go on to cause other medical conditions, particularly cervical cancer. Szarewski goes on to be principal investigator in the development of the bivalent HPV vaccine. In 1999 the first vaccine against rotavirus, the most common cause of severe diarrhoeal disease in young children, is withdrawn only a year after it was approved, due to concerns about the risk of in testinal problems. A lower-risk version of the vaccine is introduced in 2006. It takes until 2019 for it to be in use in over 100 countries. In 2006 the first vaccine for Human Papillomavirus (HPV) is approved. HPV vaccination goes on to become a key part of the effort to eliminate cervical cancer. In 2016 the success of the Meningitis Vaccine Project highlights the key role public– private partnerships can play in helping to develop vaccines. In its first 5 years of use, the vaccine has nearly eliminated serogroup A meningococcal disease in meningitis belt countries of Africa, and it is now being integrated into routine national immunization programmes. The World Health Assembly welcomes the R&D Blueprint, a global strategy and preparedness plan that allows the rapid activation of research and development activities during epidemics. Its aim is to fast-track the availability of effective tests, vaccines and medicines that can be used to save lives and avert large-scale crises. Following years of accelerated vaccinations, the Americas region is declared free of endemic measles. Outbreaks in several countries, caused by gaps in vaccination coverage, see the disease begin to reemerge in 2018. WHO and PAHO increase surveillance and launch vaccination campaigns. In 2019, the malaria vaccine pilot implementation is launched in Ghana, Malawi and Kenya. The RTS/S vaccine is the first vaccine that can significantly reduce the deadliest and most prevalent strain of malaria in young children, the group at highest risk of dying from the disease. WHO prequalifies an Ebola vaccine for use in countries at high risk, as part of a broader set of tools in response to the disease. In 2021 a global vaccine stockpile is established to ensure outbreak response. A third-generation smallpox vaccine is approved for prevention of monkeypox, thus becoming the first monkeypox vaccine. On 30 January, 2020 the WHO Director General declares the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019 (SARS-CoV- 2) to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. On 11 March, WHO confirms that COVID-19 is a pandemic. Effective COVID-19 vaccines are developed, produced and distributed with unprecedented speed, some using new mRNA technology. In December 2020, just 1 year after the first case of COVID-19 was detected, the first COVID-19 vaccine doses are administered. In 2021 the COVID-19 vaccine roll-out continues, with doses delivered and administered across continents. But efforts to curb the pandemic are threatened by inequities in vaccination coverage: as of July 2021, almost 85% of vaccines have been administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries, and over 75% have been administered in only 10 countries alone. WHO calls on Member States to prioritize vaccination of health workers and at-risk groups in lower-income countries, in order to stop severe disease and death, keep health workers safe and reopen societies and economies. For over 2 centuries, people have been vaccinated against deadly diseases, ever since the world’s first vaccine was devised against smallpox. History has taught us that a full and effective global response to vaccine-preventable diseases takes time, financial support and collaboration – and requires continued vigilance. From groundbreaking practices in the 1500s to the new technologies used in COVID-19 vaccines, we have come a long way. Vaccines now help protect against more than 20 diseases, from pneumonia to cervical cancer and Ebola; and in just the last 30 years, child deaths have declined by over 50%, thanks in large part to vaccines. But more must be done. In many parts of the world, 1 in 5 children still goes unvaccinated. The coming decades will need global cooperation, funding, commitment and vision to ensure that no child or adult suffers or dies from a vaccine-preventable disease. Monitoring Desk/S.Raqib Concluded

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.