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From the World Health Organization
November 27, 2002

State of the World's Vaccines and Immunizations

JAMA. 2002;288(20):2532. doi:10.1001/jama.288.20.2532

One of the greatest public health victories of the last century was the discovery of safe and effective vaccines. Millions of lives have been saved and millions more people have been freed from the threat of killer diseases, including smallpox, polio, and measles.

Routine immunization saves more lives for the money spent than almost any other health intervention and gives some of the world's poorest and most vulnerable children a real chance in life.

The greatest triumph of immunization was the eradication of smallpox in 1977. An astounding 3 million lives per year have been saved through this first-ever eradication of a disease (see p 2533 in the printed journal).

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