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What did people do before vaccines?

Daniel Garcia

Answered Wed

150 years ago infectious disease was the leading cause of mortality and disability.

Today it’s no longer a common cause of death. This leads many people to conclude that it was vaccination that helped us live so much longer and be so much healthier.

This is actually not true if we look at the mortality statistics.

First of all, many of the most feared diseases were not defeated with mass vaccination programs. At one time Cholera was even more feared than Smallpox and Scarlet Fever used to be one of the leading causes of death.

100 years ago Tuberculosis and Dysentry used to be kill more people than any other infectious disease. These two diseases are still around and many countries don’t vaccinate against them anymore, despite that they don’t have a significant impact anymore as long as there is no poverty.

Most vaccinations that we use today in mass vaccination programs were introduced after 1950. At that time infectious diseases were no longer having a huge impact on mortality and disability.

The most important point is that in the old days when infectious disease was still killing and disabling many , people would not have enough to eat and lived in filth and poverty and that’s why they were so much more likely to die.

Source: Achievements in Public Health, 1900-1999: Control of Infectious Diseases – CDC Website


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