Vaccine Roll Outs: Tragedy and Triumph

Paul Offit is on the US Food and Drug Administration's advisory panel on vaccines. He talked Dan through the history of massive public vaccination programmes in the US, starting with the unprecedented campaign against Polio in 1955. During that vaccination 200,000 children were a form of the vaccine in which the live polio virus had not been sufficiently inactivated and 40,000 of them got polio leading to 10 deaths and 200 cases of paralysis. That 'Cutter Incident' led to the birth of a modern vaccine regulatory framework and far safer vaccines, although, as he points out, vaccines can only be pronounced truly safe when they have been put into enough humans for enough time. This was a fascinating discussion about a topic that could not be more central to the our conversation at present. And yes, Paul will be taking the vaccine.....

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