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Vaccines - Vaccination and Vaccines Information and History

Vaccines and Vaccination

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Updated April 01, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Vaccines and Vaccination

When given a vaccination, most children develop antibodies that can help them resist specific viral infections, such as hepatitis B, polio, and measles, etc., or bacterial infections, including tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), and diphtheria, etc.

Although there have always been some people who have been against vaccines, most people have thought of vaccines as one of the greatest health achievements of the 20th century.

History of Vaccines

  • Edward Jenner conducts experiments in 1796 that led to the creation of the first smallpox vaccine a few years later and replaces variolation as a preventative for smallpox
     
  • a vaccine for rabies is developed by Louis Pasteur in 1885
     
  • the first diphtheria vaccine is developed in about 1913 through the work of Emil Adolf Behring, William Hallock Park, and others
     
  • the first whole-cell pertussis vaccines is developed in 1914, although it will take several decades before they are more widely used
     
  • a tetanus vaccine is developed in 1927
     
  • 12 children die when a multi-use bottle of diphtheria vaccine that didn't contain a preservative became contaminated with bacteria in the Queensland Disaster in 1928
     
  • Max Theiler develops the first yellow fever vaccine in 1936
     
  • the AAP formally approves the use of a pertussis vaccine created by Pearl Kendrick and Grace Eldering in 1943
     
  • the first flu vaccine is licensed for use in the US in 1945
     
  • the individual diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis vaccines become combined in a single DTP vaccine in 1948
     
  • the Salk inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is introduced in 1955
     
  • about 200 children develop polio in 1955 from contaminated polio vaccines in what becomes known as the Cutter Incident
     
  • the live, oral Sabin polio vaccine (OPV) replaces the Salk polio vaccine in 1962
     
  • the first live measles vaccine was licensed in 1963, but was replaced with a further attentuated measles virus that caused fewer side effects in 1968
     
  • the MMR vaccine becomes available in 1971, combined the vaccines for measles, mumps (licensed in 1967), and rubella (1969), and was routinely given when toddlers were about 15 months old
     
  • routine vaccination with smallpox vaccines end in the US in 1972
     
  • Pneumovax, the first pneumococcal vaccine that protects kids and adults from certain types of Streptococcus pneumoniae bacteria is approved in 1971, and is given to high risk kids
     
  • the Thirty-Third World Health Assembly declares that smallpox is eradicated in 1979
     
  • Menomune, the first meningococcal vaccine is licensed in 1981, and is recommended for high risk kids until it is later replaced by Menactra
     
  • a plasma derived hepatitis B vaccine is licensed in 1981
     
  • Vaccine Roulette, a controversial news segment, airs in 1982 and attempts to associate the DPT vaccine with permanent brain damage, downplays the risks of pertussis disease, and helps start much of the modern anti-vaccine movement
     
  • a Haemophilus b capsular polysaccharide vaccine is licensed in 1985, but unfortunately does not provide good protection in kids younger than 18 to 24 months, who are most at risk for Haemophilus influenzae Type b disease
     
  • a recombinant hepatitis B vaccine (Recombivax HB) is approved in 1986, but is only recommended to be used in those at high risk for infection
     
  • another hepatitis B vaccine, Engerix-B, is approved in 1989
     
  • the first Haemophilus b conjugate vaccine (PRP-D) is approved in 1988 to provide protection against Haemophilus influenzae type b disease in all kids at least 18 months old, but in 1990, they are replaced with two improved Hib conjugate vaccines (PRP-HbOC and PRP-OMP) that can be given to infants as young as two months old
     
  • a booster dose of MMR is first recommended in 1989, but only for kids who live in counties that have at least 5 cases of measles. The routine 2 dose MMR schedule wasn't put into use for all kids until 1994.
     
  • the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) is established in 1990
     
  • the hepatitis B and Hib vaccines are recommended for all infants in 1991
     
  • the DTaP vaccine, which is supposed to have fewer side effects than DTP is licensed, and by 1997 replaces DTP for all required doses, although DTP is never actually shown to have caused seizures or brain damage, as was once claimed in Vaccine Roulette
     
  • the WHO declares that polio has been eliminated from the Western Hemisphere in 1994
     
  • a vaccine to protect kids against chicken pox (Varivax) is licensed in 1995
     
  • VAQTA, the first hepatitis A vaccine is approved by the FDA in 1996 for kids who are at least two years old, but is mainly given to kids at high risk to get hepatitis A
     
  • the Salk inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is once again recommended for kids and replaces the oral polio vaccine (OPV) in 1996 because of a small risk of vaccine-associated paralytic poliomyelitis (VAPP), beginning with a sequential IPV-OPV vaccine schedule and then going to an all IPV schedule in 2000
     
  • RotaShield, the first rotavirus vaccine is licensed in 1998, but is soon withdrawn from the market in 1999 after it is associated with an increased risk of intussusception, a form of bowel obstruction
     
  • LYMErix, a Lyme disease vaccine, is licensed in 1998
     
  • Dr. Andrew Wakefield publishes a report in the journal Lancet attempting to link the MMR and autism
     
  • Thimerosal removed from the vast majority of vaccines in the childhood immunization schedule in 1999 and 2000.
     
  • Prevnar, a newer pneumococcal vaccine which never contained thimerosal, is licensed in 2000, and is added to the immunization schedule the next year
     
  • LYMErix goes off the market because of insufficient sales in 2002
     
  • Flumist, a live, intranasal flu vaccine, is approved in 2004
     
  • a flu shot for all healthy children between 6 and 23 months became a formal recommendation for the 2004-05 flu season.
     
  • beginning in the 2004-05 flu season, a flu shot is recommended for women who will be pregnant during flu season, in any trimester, which is different than previous recommendations for a flu vaccine if a women was going to be beyond the first trimester of pregnancy during flu season. Unfortunately, even though they are in a high risk category, only about only 13% of pregnant women received a flu vaccine in 2003.
     
  • Havrix, another hepatitis A vaccine, is approved in 2005 and the age indication for both hepatitis A vaccines is lowered to 12 months
     
  • Menactra, a vaccine to protect against certain types of meningococcal disease is licensed in 2005 and is added to the immunization schedule in 2006, being recommended for all at 11 to 12 years of age or when they enter high school
     
  • the Tdap vaccine (Boostrix or Adacel) is recommended for teens and adults to protect them from pertussis in 2006 and replaces the previous Td vaccine that only worked against tetanus and diphtheria
     
  • RotaTeq, another rotavirus vaccine, is licensed in 2006, and is added to the immunization schedule in 2007
     
  • the hepatitis A vaccine is added to the routine childhood immunization schedule in 2006
     
  • Gardasil, the first HPV vaccine, is approved in 2006
     
  • another rotavirus vaccine, RotaRix, is approved in 2008
     
  • another HPV vaccine, Cervarix, is approved in 2009
     
  • another meningococcal vaccine, Menveo, is approved in 2010
     
  • a newer version of Prevnar, which can provide coverage against 13 strains of the pneumococcal bacteria, is approved and replaces the older version (Prevnar 7) in 2010
     
  • Fluzone Intradermal and Fluzone High-Dose are two new flu vaccine options that became available in 2011
     
  • Quadrivalent flu vaccines, which protect against four strains of flu, become available for the 2013-14 flu season
     
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