Immunization and Vaccination Campaigns
In the 1960s, CDC and its partners began to fight other vaccine-preventable diseases in addition to polio, such as rubella (German measles), diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), and tetanus. The goal was to ensure that people who are medically able to receive vaccines do so. The Vaccination Assistance Act, signed in 1962 by President John F. Kennedy, made available funds to ensure all children under the age of five could receive vaccines, regardless of family economic status. Objects like a wallet card shown here were provided by doctors’ offices to help keep track of which vaccinations a patient still needed. Today, an electronic system is used by doctors to keep track of vaccines.
CDC also sought to make vaccines mainstream through the introduction of Wellbee, a bee mascot who attended community events to promote wellbeing and disease prevention through immunizations, hand washing, physical fitness, oral health, and injury prevention. According to a March 9, 1962 press release, Wellbee is “a pleasant-faced, bright–eyed, happy cartoon character, who is the personification of good health.” Shown here are posters of Wellbee and a picture of a person dressed in a Wellbee costume with Boston Red Sox baseball players. For decades, immunization programs worked diligently with good results. In 2000, routine immunization of year-old infants and children entering school resulted in the successfully elimination of measles in the United States. Unfortunately, misinformation about vaccine safety has led to some parents choosing not to vaccinate their children and measles has been reintroduced, causing outbreaks in the U.S.
Take a closer look:
- Learn more about the history and clinical features of Rubella (German measles).
- Explore the history of measles eradication and find answers to commonly asked questions about measles. (Also available en español)
- Find more information about diphtheria and the bacterium that causes it, Corynebacterium diphtheriae.
- Learn about pertussis (whooping cough) and the bacterium that causes it, Bordetella pertussis.
- Read about tetanus and the bacterium that causes it, Clostridium tetani.
- Understand how vaccines work by reading this fact sheet and dive deeper with this comprehensive vaccination resource.
- Explore vaccine-preventable diseases and recommended immunization schedules.
- Read more about WellBee, the “health educator’s friend” at CDC Museum’s Online Hidden Histories.
From the source:
- Do you know who makes decisions about vaccine recommendations in the U.S.? Learn more about the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).
- Learn more about how to protect your family with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, especially before traveling internationally.
- Meet Commander Kimberly Nguyen of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.
- Meet Nelly Mejia, economist in CDC’s Center for Global Health (also available en Español).
- Watch Ted-Ed video, “How do vaccines work?”
- Listen to CDC experts talk about their paths to public health and their work with the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the CDC Museum Public Health Academy Teen Newsletter: January 2021 – HPV Zoom.
Then and now:
- Find the history and up-to-date information about measles outbreaks.
- Read CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports (MMWRs) about the 2019 increase in U.S. measles cases, as well as an update later that year.
- Learn how rubella (German measles) was eliminated from the U.S. and how cases are still brought into the country.
- Learn about the origin of “germ theory” and vaccination in this issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases.
Give it a try:
- How much do you know about measles? Explore vaccination guidelines, key facts, and prevention tips with CDC’s Disease of the Week measles feature, then try your hand at a short quiz.
- Planning a trip? Check CDC’s vaccine recommendations for travelers and this immunization record translation guide.
- Take a more in-depth look at immunization schedules for adults and children.
- Want to take your understanding of vaccines to the next level? Find webcasts, learning modules, training programs, and more.
- 3D print a measles virus nucleocapsid protein at home through the National Institutes of Health 3D Print Exchange.
- Explore CDC’s “health educator’s friend,” WellBee, with this coloring sheet [439 KB, 1 Page].
- Take a deep dive into health education in schools in the CDC Museum Public Health Academy Teen Newsletter: September 2020 – Healthy Schools.
- Learn about the importance of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine in the CDC Museum Public Health Academy Teen Newsletter: January 2021 – HPV.
- Did you know that following the recommended vaccine schedule provides children/teens with the best protection from potentially serious diseases? Get more information in the CDC Museum Public Health Academy Teen Newsletter: April 2021 – Childhood Vaccine-Preventable Diseases.