Disease Decline

Vaccines are credited with having saved millions of lives and ‘wiping out’ infectious diseases but have they?

Independent research from figures obtained directly from the health departments of the United States, Great Britain, and Australia, shows that the death rate from infectious diseases declined before vaccines were introduced.

  • The decrease in death rate before vaccination has been attributed to better nutrition and living standards (especially sanitation), less crowding and improved treatments.32
  • Measles and whooping cough were taken off the list ofnotifiable diseases in 1950 because they were no longer considered a serious concern. Vaccines for these diseases were not used extensively until well after this date.33

Measles

The following graph shows the decline in death rate from measles in Australia before the introduction of the vaccine in 1970.

Measles Graph:

measles

Source: Commonwealth Year Book, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Human Services.  

Diphtheria

With improved general public health measures, housing and diet, diphtheria is now virtually non-existent in western countries. If contracted, diphtheria is readily treatable.

Diphtheria Graph: Deaths per year from childhood diseases

diptheria

Source: Commonwealth Year Book, Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Human Services.

Whooping Cough

This graph shows the rapid decline in deaths from Whooping Cough in Australia prior to the use of the vaccine.

Whooping Cough Graph: Deaths per year.

whooping

Source: Commonwealth Year Book, Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Human Services.

Polio

This graph clearly shows the decline in death rate prior to the introduction of the polio vaccine.

Polio Graph: Deaths per Year from Polio.

polio

Source: Commonwealth Year Book, the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Commonwealth Department of Health and Human Services.

The World Health Organisation and UNICEF stated in September 2004 that – “While the world is on course to meet drinking water targets for 2015…slow progress on sanitation means that 40% of the world’s population is at risk of disease or death.” and “More than 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation and 1.1 billion still use unsafe drinking water”.34

Mass vaccination campaigns are continually conducted in developing countries that lack basic sanitation and access to clean water, especially in the wake of war and natural disasters.

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32 Cutts, F.T. and Markowitz, L.E., Successes and failures in measles control. J. Infect. Dis, 1994;Vol.170(Suppl.1)S32-41
33 Commonwealth Department of Health Records
34 Ganapati Mudur, Slow progress on sanitation puts 2.6 billion people at risk, BMJ Sept 4, 2004;329-528