Newsflash: Vaccines Could Save Millions of Lives
While speaking at the World Health Assembly on Tuesday, Bill Gates urged pharmaceutical companies to make vaccines more affordable and for donor countries to increase their contributions.
“You must make vaccines a central focus of your health systems, to ensure that all your children have access to existing vaccines now, and to new ones as they become available,” he said. “If donors are generous, we will prevent four million deaths by 2015. By 2020, we can prevent 10 million deaths.”
Vaccines aren't new. The first successful vaccine took place in the 1770s against smallpox, after Edward Jenner experimented in using cowpox to protect against smallpox. Vaccines didn't gain national prominence until the nineteenth century with the creation of a successful rabies vaccine.
Vaccines have certainly demonstrated that they are the biggest accomplishment in the field of global health. Smallpox is no more. It's no more because of vaccines. Diseases like rubella, mumps and measles are no more in industrialized nations because of vaccines. Even the vaccine/autism link was found to be fraudulent and unfounded earlier this year.
At this point, it should be a no-brainer that vaccines save lives and have the potential to save millions of more lives. The world is so close to eliminating polio. There only 145 cases of polio worldwide, a majority of them in Chad, Pakistan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
At this point, it should be a no-brainer for pharmaceutical companies to invest on this issue. Getting rid of diseases once and for all gives everyone something less to worry about.