New England Journal of Medicine
February 4, 2021 Vol. 384 No. 5
A Half-Century of Progress in Health: The National Academy of Medicine at 50
Vaccine Innovations — Past and Future
Julie L. Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., and Barton F. Haynes, M.D.
… Vaccines remain the most effective tool for preventing infectious diseases and improving global health. Remarkable progress has been made with the use of vaccines, including the eradication of smallpox and the control of childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, rubella, and polio. New insights into the functioning of the immune system on a cellular and molecular level have made possible the rapid development of new vaccines. Difficulties facing vaccinologists include predicting the type and timing of the next pandemic; developing vaccines to combat rapidly changing pathogens such as HIV-1, influenza, and multidrug-resistant bacteria; and establishing rapid-response strategies to control emerging and reemerging infectious diseases. The future holds great promise for vaccine-mediated control of global pathogens, but providing affordable access to effective vaccines for everyone who could benefit from them remains an important challenge.