Yesterday on Forbes, Matthew Herper wrote about an impressive infographic which illustrates the impact vaccines have had on reducing the burden of disease in the United States. Zero cases of polio and smallpox, down from 16,000 and 29,000 cases earlier in the twentieth century. The number of measles cases has been reduced to 61, down from more than half a million in less than a century's time.
Thanks in large part to vaccines.
See the full graphic here.
In other parts of the world, vaccines are having a tremendous impact on reducing childhood illness and mortality. However, much remains to be done to get to those levels shown for the US.
This table from the Global Vaccine Action Plan shows how many lives can be saved (in 94 countries, with vaccines against 10 diseases) through implementation of the strategies described in the plan.
There's no doubt that vaccines have and will continue to change our world significantly. We just need to ensure that vaccines and vaccine technologies are reaching all people, regardless of where they live.