The dawn of the 21st century ushered in spectacular advances in vaccine production technology. However, the benefits of these developments have been largely confined to the world's most affluent and least afflicted. Of the 14 million deaths that occur world-wide in children aged less than 5 years, over 95% of these occur in developing countries and at least 70% are caused by infections for which vaccines are already available in other countries. While impoverished countries do not have a right to be assisted with the provision of funds or vaccines by affluent developed countries, an initiative for the global eradication of a vaccine preventable disease, requires a global effort. Assisting developing countries to achieve such goals should be a high priority for wealthy nations, even if only to protect their own populations. With improved international travel, not only can newly emerging diseases spread across the globe, but pathogens eliminated from one population can be re-imported by travellers or immigrants. In contrast, the recent decline in acceptance of immunisation programmes in developed countries are secondary to strong anti-vaccine movements attributing unproven adverse reactions to vaccines, placing these life-saving vaccines into disrepute. A fertile ground for propagation of these ideologies is created by parents who in their lifetime may not have seen a child killed or maimed from bacterial meningitis or measles and therefore have little understanding of the risk-benefit of vaccination. The development and deployment of vaccines must be a global effort as are the treaties for global disarmament for weapons of mass destruction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases