n South African Medical Journal - Vaccination saves lives - dare we allow the anti-vaccine lobbyists to prevent it? : guest editorial

Volume 105, Issue 11
  • ISSN : 0256-9574
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5135



Vaccines are one of the safest and most effective tools available in efforts to control and prevent many infectious diseases. When the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) was established by the World Health Assembly (WHA) in 1974, only about 5% of the world's children were immunised against polio, diphtheria, tuberculosis, measles, pertussis and tetanus. In 2014, 40 years later, 83% were immunised, and the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that this programme saves the lives of two to three million children every year. There are a number of other success stories... the complete eradication of smallpox, the near-elimination of polio, and the many countries that have reported elimination of measles (although there have been recent outbreaks in some of these).

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