How about a Maurice Hilleman Day?

photo of an aged Maurice HillemanHow many lives has evolutionary theory saved? Here is the contribution of one scientist, Maurice Hilleman: 27 million lives and still counting.

Hilleman became a scientist because as a youngster he read Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, which had been overlooked by a committee bent on making the local library safe for Creationism. He grew up and developed more than forty vaccines. His sobriquet, given by his contemporaries, was “The Man Who Saved Your Life.”

Here’s a link to his story from the New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research.

His credits include not only the preventive vaccine for mumps, but also vaccines for measles, rubella (German measles), chickenpox, bacterial meningitis, flu and hepatitis B….

Many of the diseases that Hilleman’s vaccines helped bring under control have been all but forgotten by a well-immunized generation of Americans. But not that long ago in this country, these diseases not only kept children home from school, they also sent them to the hospital and even the cemetery. Today Hilleman’s measles vaccine alone prevents an estimated one million deaths around the globe every year.

In my new calendar of nerd holidays, I think we should add Maurice Hilleman’s birthday.

9 Responses to “How about a Maurice Hilleman Day?”

  1. AnneS Says:

    Is this a day meant for people to collectively vomit all at once? Hilleman is no hero.

  2. monado Says:

    Speak for yourself. Diptheria killed my uncle and pneumonia killed my favourite swimming teacher–while you fret about your imaginary toxins. Or don’t you remember that Alexander Graham Bell had a job at a school for deaf children, most of them victims of measles. There is no mercury in modern vaccines. There is no link between vaccination and autism. The fellow in England who pushes for more and more studies has received hundreds of thousands of pounds for his trouble. Wake up!

  3. isles Says:

    Given what I’ve heard about Hilleman, the best way to celebrate his birthday would be with a round of drinks and some harsh language for the nudniks who howl about imaginary vaccine dangers. I’d go to that party!

  4. isles Says:

    (That’s a round of drinks for the celebrants, to clarify, not for the vaccine naysayers!)

  5. Mick Says:

    Please take a look at this Hilleman Interview.

    Interesting look at the problems associated with vaccination.

  6. monado Says:

    I think that 27 million lives saved is good evidence on the side of science.

  7. monado Says:

    My cousin was crippled by polio at the age of four. And that kind of thing used to be normal—and still is in some countries despite the best efforts of medical teams. In fact, I was reading about a polio vaccination drive a couple of months ago. One young mother refused the vaccine because people had told her there were poisons in it. The next time the team came through, her toddler was crippled in the legs. “I didn’t understand,” she said. AnneS, you are so privileged that you have forgotten how much and why.

    Do you know why “milkmaids” are celebrated in song for their beauty? Because they got a mild disease called cowpox and rarely got the smallpox that disfigured so many other people. That’s what got Jenner started when he started looking for something safer than the mild strains of smallpox that were used to immunize children in Turkey. (His friend, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, wrote to him about the smallpox parties where people would immunize their children with an attenuated form transported in walnut shells from mild cases, and hope that they recovered from that and thus would never get a deadlier strain with its 30% mortality.) How would you like that sort of desperation in your childcare? Have you not seen the demographic charts of diseases over the years? By not immunizing, you are putting other people in danger. Measles is passed only from person to person. If it weren’t for anti-vaccination hype, we’d have a good chance of eliminating it.

  8. Mick Says:

    “If it weren’t for anti-vaccination hype, we’d have a good chance of eliminating it.”
    Here is some more “Hype”-

    From 1915 to 1958, before Measles vaccine was introduced, the measles death rate in the U.S. and Britain had already declined on its own by 98%. Source:international Mortality Statistics, 1981.

    People who received the measles vaccine were 2.5 times more likely to develop ulcerative colitis and three times more likely to develop Crohn’s disease when compared to unvaccinated controls. Source: Lancet 1995;345: 1071-1074

    Vaccines have also been documented as a cause of auti-immunity: Lilic, D, et al. “Liver Dysfunction and DNA Antibodies after Hep B Vaccination”, Lancet, Nov 5, 1994, 344(8932):1292-1293.

    It is simply false that vaccines have made the impact you think they have made. I cited 3 studies amongst thousands available in the index medicus.

    “There is no mercury in modern vaccines. There is no link between vaccination and autism. The fellow in England who pushes for more and more studies has received hundreds of thousands of pounds for his trouble. Wake up!”

    Modern vaccines do contain mercury to this day ie. the flu shot and tetanus booster shots among many. Yes, it is true that thimerosol was removed from most vaccines, none the less the only thing that has changed is the language of thimerosal. Refer to:
    This is from the World Health Organization Technical Report Series, no. 926, 2004.

    I wish you the very best and in no way intend to offend. This is info that is rarely read by folks who blindly push vaccination without an understanding of the shortcomings of vaccinations basic premise.

  9. monado Says:

    I’ll look them up. But people would probably rather be alive to get a chronic disease than be dead.

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