How vaccination has helped to reduce or, in some cases, eradicate the spread of infectious diseases
In the late 18th century, British surgeon and physician, Edward Jenner, hypothesised that inoculation with cowpox could protect against smallpox. Despite this, smallpox remained a deadly disease well into the 20th century, killing an estimated 300 million people, until 1959 when the World Health Organization launched their global vaccination programme. In 1980, smallpox was declared the first ever disease to be globally eradicated.
Poliomyelitis, commonly known as polio, is an infectious disease passed from person to person through contact with faeces, saliva or mucus. Before a vaccination was introduced, epidemics would result in up to 750 deaths in the UK each year.  The disease mainly affects children under five, and can lead to irreversible paralysis and death. A vaccine was invented in 1955 and deployed widely, sparing countless children from the life-limiting effects of polio or death.
Before the introduction of a measles vaccine in 1963, major epidemics occurred every 2-3 years and caused an estimated 2.6 million deaths globally each year.
Vaccines and COVID-19
COVID-19 vaccines have been developed using this same science that has been around for decades. While there is still a lot to learn about COVID-19, we do know that getting vaccinated against the disease can protect the people around you.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT VACCINATION, PLEASE SPEAK TO YOUR DOCTOR.
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