Category: History of Vaccines

Vaccine Timeline and History of Vaccines

Smallpox was officially declared to have been eradicated in December 1979.
Smallpox was officially declared to have been eradicated worldwide in December 1979.

Most people are aware of the big historic dates and events related to vaccines.

For example, they might now when Edward Jenner first tested his smallpox vaccine (1798), when the first polio vaccine was licensed by Jonas Salk (1955), or that we just got a Meningococcal B vaccine (2014).

But few likely now that we have had rabies vaccines since 1885, a flu vaccine since 1945, or that the last case of wild polio in the United States was in 1979.

“It is hard to fully appreciate how vaccines have revolutionized modern medicine. The long schedule of vaccines may seem like a hassle, and rumors about harmful effects unnerve parents. But, the fact is, vaccines have helped save millions and millions of lives. Just a few generations ago, people lived under the constant threat of deadly infectious diseases, like smallpox, polio, and hepatitis.

Let’s look at the greatest infectious scourges of the past 1,000 years and how vaccines have mitigated or even eradicated the danger.”

Public Health Understanding Vaccines

From historical safety concerns, like the Cutter Incident in 1955 or the withdrawal of the first rotavirus vaccine in 1999, to improvements in vaccine safety and the control, elimination, and eradication of vaccine-preventable diseases, understanding the history of vaccines can help you understand how important vaccines really are to us all.

More Information About Vaccine Timelines

US Presidents and Vaccines

You would think that getting kids vaccinated and protected against vaccine-preventable diseases would be a non-partisan issue, but it unfortunately isn’t always the case.

donald-trump

Even before Donald Trump brought up false claims that vaccines cause autism, we have seen what can happen when funding for vaccines dropped. Federal support for vaccines dropped while Reagan was in office and we quickly saw outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, including many deaths.

Fortunately, most American Presidents have strongly supported vaccines.

There is no longer any reason why American children should suffer from polio, diphtheria, whooping cough, or tetanus. … I am asking the American people to join in a nationwide vaccination program to stamp out these four diseases.

JFK in 1962

  • George Washington – had smallpox and later mandated that every soldier in the Continental Army had to be inoculated against smallpox
  • John Adams – was innoculated against smallpox (before Jenner‘s vaccine was available), as were his wife and children
  • Thomas Jefferson – conducted his own smallpox vaccine trials
  • James Madison – signed the Vaccine Act of 1813 – An Act to encourage Vaccination.
  • James K Polk – died of cholera, a now vaccine-preventable disease, three months after his term ended
  • Zachary Taylor – died of cholera while still in office
  • Abraham Lincoln – developed smallpox while he was in office
  • Franklin D Roosevelt – had polio and founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, which was later renamed the March of Dimes, and helped fund Jonas Salk‘s research on the first polio vaccine
  • Harry S Truman – had diphtheria as a child, which may have left him with vision problems, and was vaccinated against smallpox
  • Dwight D Eisenhower – signed the Polio Vaccination Assistance Act in 1955, which gave $30 million in federal grants to states to cover the costs of planning and conducting polio vaccination programs, including purchasing polio vaccine
  • John F Kennedy – signed the Vaccination Assistance Act in 1962 (Section 317 of the Public Health Service Act), which started as a three year program to help get kids vaccinated against polio, diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis, but it has been continuously reauthorized ever since
  • Lyndon B Johnson – established a legacy of US leadership in global immunization by funding the CDC Smallpox Eradication program in 1965 (smallpox wasn’t eradicated until 1980)
  • Richard Nixon – observed that scientists who helped develop the polio vaccine with Jonas Salk “deserve far greater respect and support by the people whom they serve than they now receive.”
  • Gerald Ford – instituted a swine flu vaccination program for an outbreak that never appeared
  • Jimmy Carter – his National Childhood Immunization Initiative in 1977 reached its goal of immunizing 90% of children
  • Ronald Reagan – signed the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act (NCVIA) of 1986, which created VAERS and the NVICP, while federal support for vaccine programs reached a low point in his years in office, as rates of children living in poverty and without health insurance increased
  • George HW Bush – his immunization action plan in 1991 once again raised immunization rates following three years of measles outbreaks
  • Bill Clinton – his Childhood Immunization Initiative in 1993 which included signing the Vaccines for Children (VFC) Act, provided free vaccines to many children
  • George W Bush – announced a major smallpox vaccination program in 2002, but very few healthcare workers actually volunteered to get vaccinated
  • Barack Obama – declared the 2009 H1N1 swine flu outbreak a national emergency, Obamacare requires health insurance plans to pay for vaccines without co-pays, made the Ebola outbreak a national security priority, and helped keep funding for Zika vaccine research going

What can we expect our next President to do about vaccines and vaccination rates?

For More Information on US Presidents and Vaccines:

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Founding Fathers on Vaccines

The Founding Fathers presenting a draft of the Declaration of Independence.
The Founding Fathers presenting a draft of the Declaration of Independence. By John Trumbull – US Capitol

What did the Founding Fathers think about vaccines?

While some folks like to claim that the Founding Fathers would have been against vaccines, most experts think that claim is nonsense.

What we know is that the seven key Founding Fathers, which include:

  • John Adams – was innoculated against smallpox (before Jenner‘s vaccine was available), as were his wife and children
  • Benjamin Franklin – was vaccinated and regretted not vaccinating his own son, who died of smallpox
  • Alexander Hamilton – supported George Washington’s plan to inoculate the Continental Army against smallpox
  • John Jay – having a brother and sister that were both blinded by natural smallpox infections, you would expect that he would be in favor of vaccinations and he did indeed inoculate his own children Maria, Nancy and Sally Jay against smallpox
  • Thomas Jefferson – conducted his own smallpox vaccine trials
  • James Madison – signed the Vaccine Act of 1813 – An Act to encourage Vaccination.
  • George Washington – had smallpox and later mandated that every soldier in the Continental Army had to be inoculated against smallpox

Without speculating on what they would have thought of today’s immunization schedules and anti-vaccine movements, it is safe to say that they supported the use of the vaccines that were available to them at the time to protect themselves and their families.

For More Information on the Founding Fathers and Vaccines:

Historical Immunization Schedules

Technically, the first official immunization schedule that was approved by the ACIP, AAP, and AAFP – a harmonized immunization schedule, just like we have today – was published in 1995.

Past Immunization Schedules

Of course, there were immunization schedules before that, including these immunization schedules that were published by the AAP in 1983, 1989, and 1994:

schedule1983s
Eleven doses of four vaccines protected kids against seven vaccine-preventable diseases in 1983.

The Hib vaccine was added in 1985.

schedule1989s
Twelve doses of five vaccines protected kids against eight vaccine-preventable diseases in 1989.

Next came the hepatitis B vaccine and expanded age ranges for the Hib vaccine.

schedule1994s
Seventeen doses of five vaccines protected kids against eight vaccine-preventable diseases in 1989 (plus the later Td booster).

What’s still missing?

Vaccines and protection against rotavirus, hepatitis A, chicken pox, flu, pneumococcal bacteria, meningococcal bacteria, and HPV.

Even Older Immunization Schedules

While the anti-vaccine movement often claims that kids now get too many vaccines (the too many too soon argument), not understanding that they get far fewer antigens than they once did, with far more protection, most of them will be surprised that some children got even more immunizations that the 1980s schedules they long for.

schedule1940s
A schedule of immunizations from a 1948 AAP Round Table Discussion on the Practical and Immunological Aspects of Pediatric Immunizations

So in the 1940s, some children received:

  • 3 doses of the pertussis vaccine
  • 2 doses of the smallpox vaccine
  • 3 doses of the typhoid vaccine
  • 3 doses of a DT vaccine
  • a DPT booster
  • a tetanus booster
  • a typhoid booster
  • 2 pertussis boosters

Some children also received a flu vaccine and pneumococcal vaccine.

With reference to the influence viral vaccine we have endeavored to give it those children who have repeated, frequent, severe upper respiratory tract infection.

Dr. Francis A Garbade – Galveston, Texas 1948

And in 1938, the AAP’s Special Committee on Prophylactic Procedures  Against  Communicable Diseases published a pamphlet,  Routine measures for the prophylaxis of communicable diseases, which became the first Red Book.

Among its recommendations were vaccines to protect against seven infections, including:

  • diphtheria
  • pertussis
  • rabies
  • tetanus
  • tuberculosis
  • typhoid fever
  • small pox

It also mentions vaccines for erysipelas, scarlet fever, staphylococcal infections and chicken pox.

The bottom line is that many kids got a lot more vaccines in the old days than many parents realize or remember.

For More Information on Historical Immunization Schedules:

 

References on Historical Immunization Schedules
Offit, Paul A. Addressing Parents’ Concerns: Do Multiple Vaccines Overwhelm or Weaken the Infant’s Immune System? Pediatrics. Vol. 109 No. 1 January 1, 2002 pp. 124-129
Pickering, Larry K. The Red Book Through the Ages. Pediatrics. November 2013, VOLUME 132 / ISSUE 5
Sako, Wallace. Practical and Immunolgic Aspects of Pediatric Immunizations. Pediatrics. 1948;2;722.

History of Vaccine Manufacturers

Currently, the main manufacturers of vaccines used in the United States include:

  1. Emergent Biosolutions – Anthrax vaccine
  2. GSK Vaccines – Bexsero, Boostrix, Cervarix, Energix-B, Fluarix, Havrix, Hiberix, Infanrix, Kinrix, Menveo, Pediarix, Rabavert, Rotarix
  3. Mass Biologics (Massachusetts Public Health Biological Laboratories) – made the first DTP vaccine and continues making a generic Td vaccine
  4. MedImmune (owned by AstraZenaca) – FluMist
  5. Merck – Gardasil, MMR-II, PedvaxHIB, Pneumovax23, ProQuad, Recombivax HB, RotaTeq, Vaqta, Varivax, Zostavax
  6. PaxVax – Vivotif typhoid vaccine
  7. Pfizer – Prevnar, Trumenba
  8. Protein Sciences Corporation – Flublok
  9. Sanofi Pasteur – Adacel, Daptacel, Fluzone, Imovax Rabies, Pentacel, IPOL, Pentacel, Menactra, YF-Vax,
  10. Seqirus – Afluria, Fluad, Flucelvax, Fluvirin
  11. Valneva – Japanese encephalitis vaccine (IXIARO), Dukoral cholera vaccine

Of course, there used to be many more.

During the past fifty years, companies devoted solely or primarily to manufacturing vaccines (such as Lederle and Praxis) have been acquired by other pharmaceutical companies; the number of companies making vaccines has decreased from twenty-six in 1967 to seventeen in 1980 and to five in 2004 (GlaxoSmithKline, Sanofi-Aventis, Merck, Wyeth, and Chiron).

Paul Offit, MD

And then there were four…

21st Century Vaccine Industry Changes

Unlike changes in the 1970s, the latest changes in the vaccine industry and among vaccine manufacturers don’t have a lot to do with companies being forced out of business because of lawsuits.

Mergers and consolidation seem to be fueling the changes.

For example, Novartis, recently considered one of the top five pharmaceutical corporations that make vaccines, sold off its vaccine business to CSL Limited and GSK.

CSL Limited then formed Seqirus to produce their flu vaccines.

In other changes:

  • Pfizer acquired Wyeth in 2008
  • Chiron Corp became Novartis Vaccines in 2006
  • Aventis Pasteur and Sanofi merged to become Sanofi Pasteur in 2004
  • SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome merged to become GlaxoSmithKline in 2000

But you don’t really get how big these mergers are until you understand that:

  • Pasteur Merieux and Aventis merged to become Aventis Pasteur in 1999
  • Wyeth acquired Lederle Laboratories/Praxis in 1994
  • Lederle Laboratories and Praxis  merged in 1989
  • Connaught Laboratories was purchased by the French Merieux Institute, forming Pasteur Merieux in 1989

Still other vaccine manufacturers simply stopped making vaccines.

Older Vaccine Manufacturers

What ever happened to these vaccine manufacturers?

eli-lilly-vaccine
Eli Lilly used to make a Small Pox vaccine
  • Bionetics Research Inc.
  • Cutter Laboratories – made anthrax vaccine and the Salk polio vaccine that was involved in the Cutter incident. Was bought by Bayer in 1974, but they no longer make vaccines.
  • Dow Chemical (Pitman-Moore) – got out of the vaccine business in 1977-78 and stopped making 12 vaccines
  • Eli Lilly – got out of the vaccine business in 1976 and stopped making 14 vaccines
  • Evans Medical Ltd.
  • Mich (Michigan Department of Public Health) – once made 8 vaccines
  • Miles Inc. – exited the vaccine market in 1970 and stopped making 11 vaccines
  • North American Vaccine, Inc. – was purchased by Baxter International Inc. in 2000, a company that sold off its remaining vaccine business in 2000, including vaccines for meningitis C and tick borne encephalitis. North American Vaccine, Inc. once sold a DTaP vaccine – Certiva.
  • Organon Teknika Corporation
  • Parke-Davis – purchased by Warner-Lampert in 1970, but had sold off their flu vaccine division as King Pharmaceuticals, stopping production of 16 other vaccines. King Pharmaceuticals later changed its name to Parkdale Pharmaceuticals and stopped making vaccines in 2002.
  • Richardson-Merrill – got out of the vaccine business in 1976-78 and stopped making 14 vaccines
  • Sclavo
  • Solvay Pharmaceuticals – purchased by Abbott Laboratories in 2010, but Solvay’s flu vaccine business was sold off and their Influvac vaccine is no longer used in the United States
  • Squibb & Sons – now known as Bristol-Myers Squibb, since their 1989 merger, Squibb used to make vaccines, including Maurice Hilleman‘s first Japanese B encephalitis vaccine
  • Texas Department of Health Resources – exited the vaccine market in 1979 and stopped making 7 vaccines
  • University of Illinois – once made the BCG vaccine

Unlike other companies that merged or had their vaccine business sold off, these companies and their vaccines are gone. And some, like Bionetics Research Inc. and Organon Teknika Corporation were acquired by the same companies (ABL). They just don’t make vaccines anymore.

For More Information on Vaccine Manufacturers:

References on Vaccine Manufacturers:The Children’s Vaccine Initiative: Achieving the Vision. Historical Record of Vaccine Product License Holders in the United States
Pereira,Nuno Sousa. Vaccine Supply: Effects of Regulation and Competition. International Journal of the Economics of Business 18(2):239-271.October 2010

Those Times Other Countries Impulsively Banned Vaccines

Many people know that other countries have different immunization requirements and recommendations than the United States.

In fact, it is even a popular anti-vaccine myth that we give many more vaccines than most other countries. There actually isn’t all that many differences.

What is very different is how quickly most other countries are to pull vaccines at the first sign of an issue, even when it is isn’t likely to be caused by the vaccine and when the consequences are that people are going to be put at risk of life-threatening vaccine preventable diseases.

We saw this when:

  • France suspended the routine vaccination of teens against hepatitis B because of the possible association of the vaccine with multiple sclerosis in 1998 amid “pressure from anti-vaccine groups and reports in the French media have raised concerns about a link between HBV immunisation and new cases or relapses of MS and other demyelinating diseases,” even though “scientific data available do not support a causal association between HBV immunisation and central nervous system diseases, including MS.”
  • DTP vaccination was interrupted in Sweden, Japan, UK, The Russian Federation, Ireland, Italy, the former West Germany, and Australia leading to a pertussis incidence that “was 10 to 100 times lower in countries where high vaccine coverage was maintained than in countries where immunisation programs were compromised by anti-vaccine movements.” The United States was one of the countries that did not stop using DTP at the time, at least not until we had the newer, DTaP vaccine. In Japan, where they switched from DTP to DT in 1974 and raised the ages that children be vaccinated, only 10% had been been vaccinated against pertussis by 1976. In 1979, there was a large pertussis outbreak with 41 deaths.
  • Japan switched from the combination MMR to single vaccines in 1993 because their MMR vaccine had been linked to aseptic meningitis.
  • Some reports say that Sweden and Finland suspended the use of the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine because of its association with narcolepsy, but since the vaccine was for the 2009-10 swine flu pandemic, that seems academic.
  • Japan suspended both Hib and Prevnar for a month in 2011 “because of seven deaths of children that were ultimately found to be unrelated to the vaccines.”
  • Japan also quickly began investigating the HPV vaccines shortly after they became available in Japan “because of fears of complex regional pain syndrome.”
  • Italy temporarily suspended the Fluad flu vaccine after 19 deaths in 2014, but quickly reinstated it after the vaccine was found to be safe.
  • Italy, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and Australia temporarily suspended the Agrippal and Fluad flu vaccines in 2012 because “white particles were seen in syringes carrying the vaccines,” even though they were said to be a normal part of the manufacturing process.

What are the consequences of frequently suspending and banning vaccines? It certainly doesn’t improve people’s confidence in vaccines or help keep immunization rates up. And we know what it does to disease rates.

Of course, that is not to say that the United States will never stop or suspend the use of a vaccine. The RotaShield rotavirus vaccine is a good example. It was taken off the market just nine months after being approved because it was associated with intussusception.

And we aren’t using FluMist this flu season.

But in most other situations, vaccines were investigated and found to be safe, all without having to be suspended, leaving kids unprotected and at risk of getting a vaccine-preventable disease.

Other countries have sometimes found issues with their vaccines too. Western Australia temporarily suspended FluVax flu shots for children under age 5 years because of an increased rate of fever and febrile seizures in 2010.

Mexico suspended vaccinations after at least two kids died and 29 got sick in Chiapas in 2015 (bacterial contamination of vaccine vials). But it wasn’t all vaccines in the whole country as many reported. It was only a few lots in that part of the country, and vaccines were quickly restarted once they were found to be safe.

It should also be noted that many of these vaccines were never used in the United States, including the brand of MMR that was used in Japan and the Pandemrix swine flu vaccine.

Even FluVax was not used in the United States for young children. In 2010, Afluria, which is essentially the same vaccine, was only recommended for children who were at least 9-years-old.

For More Information:

 

References:
Akehurst C. France suspends hepatitis B immunisation for adolescents in schools. Euro Surveill. 1998;2(41):pii=1143
Gangarosa EJ. Impact of anti-vaccine movements on pertussis control: the untold story. Lancet. 1998 Jan 31;351(9099):356-61.

Lora Little

Lora Little’s son died of measles and diphtheria when he was seven-years-old. She didn’t blame those vaccine-preventable diseases though. Instead, she blamed the smallpox vaccine that he had gotten to go to school earlier that year.

She soon became one of the most vocal anti-vaccine spokespeople of her time – the late 19th century. Her son was vaccinated in 1895.

In addition to speaking out against rules requiring vaccination to attend school, Little wrote a pamphlet, Crimes of the Cowpox Ring.

She even got an anti-vaccination law passed in Minnesota in 1903, one that made it so that children could not be made to get vaccinated as a condition to attend school. Not surprisingly, the state saw a smallpox epidemic in 1906.

For More Information on Lora Little:

  • Pox: An American History
  • Deadly Choices
  • Vaccine