One hundred years ago, infectious diseases were the main cause of death worldwide, even in the most developed countries. Today, there is a vast range of vaccines available to protect against more than 26 infectious diseases – and there are new vaccines on the horizon with the potential to prevent even more.
Consistent wide-spread use of vaccine has proven successful in controlling or even eliminating disease. Before a vaccination campaign eliminated all natural occurrences of smallpox in 1980, the disease threatened 60% of the world’s population and killed one out of four victims. Between 2000 and 2006, measles deaths dropped worldwide by almost 68%, with some regions aiming at eradicating the disease.