covid-19-vaccine-ts

Vaccine History with Dr. Martin Topiel

When considering the complex and varied views people have regarding vaccines, Dr. Martin Topiel recommends looking to history for guidance.

“New vaccines are often controversial in their time,” he says. “But when we look back at the impact they have—how they eradicated diseases that once debilitated or killed by the thousands—we have better context for this moment in time.”

Dr. Topiel cites polio as an example. Before a vaccine became available in the 1950s, polio paralyzed an average of 15,000 Americans per year and claimed the lives of many children. Thanks to vaccination, polio has been nonexistent in the U.S. for more than 40 years. According to healthgrades.com, incidence of polio has decreased 99 percent worldwide—a triumph for public health.

“The CDC reported 350,000 cases of polio globally in 1988. By 2013, that number plummeted to 403 cases. Progress like that doesn’t just happen. It requires everyday people to step up and make the decision to protect themselves,” Dr. Topiel says.

In February 2013, long before COVID-19, Forbes magazine created an infographic to illustrate the effectiveness of vaccinations, based on data reported in the Journal of American Medical Association.

“I remember when the World Health Organization declared smallpox had been eradicated in 1980. It was a major victory for the planet,” Topiel recalls. “There is evidence that that disease had existed for thousands of years, claiming too many lives to count, and yet modern medicine found a way to stop it for good.”

For these reasons, and others, Dr. Topiel encourages everyone to receive the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.

“Past generations had to wait in vain for cures to come around. Today, we already have the tools to stop COVID-19, but it is the ultimate group effort,” he says. “Everyone must play their part for this to work.”

Updated September 20, 2021

navigator access center

Contact Virtua

A Personal Health Navigator can help you find a doctor, schedule appointments or classes, and help you find a service or location.

888-VIRTUA-3 Live Chat

You may also like

covid-men-women

3 Ways COVID Affects Men and Women Differently

COVID-19 is here for the foreseeable future. We’re still learning more about this virus each day, and it got us wondering: Does COVID-19 affect men and women differently?

Read More
Why Your Daily Walk May Be Making You Really Sore - Virtua Sports Medicine, NJ

Why Your Daily Walk May Be Making You Really Sore

If social distancing moved you out of the gym to walking every day, you may be feeling some unexpected aches and pains. Here's why you may be sore and when to seek treatment.

Read More
young boy hugging man around the neck

10 Crucial Reasons Why Your Kids Should Be Vaccinated

Virtua pediatrician Eric Dorn, MD, shares why it’s crucial for the health and safety of your kids to have them immunized for 14 vaccine-preventable diseases before age 2.

Read More
Showing 3 of 39