As the world scrambles to speed up the development of a Zika vaccine, new data released in Health Affairs shows that in addition to saving lives, vaccines are also an excellent investment in the economic health of communities.
Just as public, private, and philanthropic leaders did a brilliant job with childhood vaccination decades ago, so too must we bring the same commitment, dedication, and creativity to adult and "life-course" vaccination.
Parents usually rely on their child's pediatrician to keep them up to date on vaccines. But the updated meningococcal vaccine recommendation recently issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is different.
Until the second half of the 20th century, the only way a child could become immune to infectious diseases like whooping cough or measles was to actually get the disease and survive it. Too often, however, infection led to tragic, premature death.
A challenge stands before us: ensuring immunization of the world's poorest children. If we as global citizens can meet it, we will help protect the lives of millions in places too poor to afford vaccines.
Grandparents can explain their concerns for their grandchildren. If they -- like me -- are old enough to have had measles or remember past epidemics, they can recall a person in their community who died or was impaired by this seemingly innocuous disease.
So much of this is about trust: Helping families trust not just me, but all the research and science behind vaccines, helping them trust the people who truly are experts as opposed to the people who say they are, but aren't.
February 11 marked six months since the onset of the last confirmed case of wild poliovirus on the African continent. That is longer than at any time in recorded history. There is now a chance that we are on the verge of a historic achievement in global health: an Africa free of wild poliovirus.