CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER
CONNECTING PEOPLE TO IDEAS AND TO EACH OTHER

To End Infectious Disease, We Must Cure Our Societal Ills

Wars, Politics, and the Anti-Vaccine Movement Plague Global Efforts to Stop Epidemics

A woman receives a vaccination against smallpox as Indian medical teams arrive at Hakegora village to inoculate people, June 12, 1974. Photo by Associated Press.

It once was stated that “man’s weakness is not achieving victories, but in taking advantage of them.” Indeed, this is the case for global infection control. Throughout history we have so far eradicated only a single major infectious disease threat, a feat accomplished through the leadership of Dr. D.A. Henderson, who passed away in 2016 at the age of 87.

Beginning in 1966, Henderson led a global effort based at the World Health Organization (WHO) to accelerate smallpox vaccinations. In an extraordinary campaign that required vaccinating people in the poorest and …

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