Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • I was born in Uganda in 1950,

  • and a year and a half later I slipped out of bed one day

  • and I collapsed on the floor.

  • My parents immediately thought, "Oh, it's polio".

  • It would be hard to imagine what a world without vaccines would be like.

  • It would really be quite horrible.

  • There would be outbreaks of disease regularly, all over the world.

  • The true deep impact, and the global impact, of vaccines

  • just can't be underestimated.

  • My grandmother, she used to tell a story

  • about when they would hear the bells on a hearse

  • going down the high street, a funeral.

  • She said as children they would rush to their nursery window

  • to see if there were white ribbons on the horses

  • which meant it was a child funeral,

  • and they happened several times a week.

  • It typically affected children.

  • One of the names for polio was infantile paralysis.

  • It's quite difficult to imagine a world without vaccines.

  • Life expectancy would be a lot lower.

  • People would have to lock themselves away

  • and only come out again when it was safe.

  • And ironically,

  • there would be such a demand

  • to do something that vaccines

  • would inevitably emerge.

  • Vaccines are likely the most important public health intervention

  • of the last 100 years.

  • They've saved over a billion lives.

  • With the roll out of vaccines

  • we have seen a massive reduction in child mortality

  • in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • I am born in the Gambia

  • and growing up there I lost a brother to measles.

  • To lose somebody at a very premature age

  • from a disease preventable by vaccines is absolutely devastating.

  • Vaccines can prevent cancer and there are two cancer vaccines.

  • With the roll out of the current malaria vaccine

  • we are expecting to see a reduction of 40% of malaria deaths.

  • You could bring a vaccine to people

  • but will they take it?

  • Anti-vaccination fears have been around for over a century.

  • We know from the 1850s, when Jenner first developed smallpox vaccine

  • there were actually quite a few protests.

  • A lot of it was about civil rights and libertarian values.

  • There were arguments saying that it was poisonous,

  • that children who received a smallpox vaccine

  • would develop bovine or cow-like traits.

  • A lot of it was just a genuine knowledge void

  • that a lot of people had in the 1850s that they still have today.

  • On the one hand we have the really hardcore anti-vaccination groups,

  • but a lot of people are actually in the middle,

  • and I think what we need to do is just engage with people

  • where they are and where they are talking

  • and not discount their real concerns.

  • People want to understand things, they want to be confident,

  • they might be afraid of needles.

  • We have to understand their context and where they're coming from

  • and what are their past experiences with health and vaccines.

  • We have to ensure that people understand it and they will take it.

  • A world without vaccines, it would be a matter of economic status

  • where the children of the wealthy will have access to healthcare

  • will be surviving.

  • Vaccines are the only public health intervention that can bring equality.

  • So women don't need to have five, 10 children

  • just to see three of them grow to old age.

  • This isn't about just individual rights,

  • when you take a vaccine it's protecting yourself,

  • it's protecting your family, and it's protecting your community.

  • It's not just a personal choice,

  • it's a moral choice as well that affects other people.

  • It's impossible to emphasise how important vaccines are.

  • And the reason that we don't often realise that they're important

  • is that we've eradicated many of these diseases.

  • The idea that vaccines could be a victim of their own success,

  • it's about taking things for granted, isn't it?

  • And not looking behind

  • what the privileges we have in the modern world are,

  • and what makes it the modern world,

  • and makes it a safe place for most of us to be,

  • and vaccines are absolutely at the heart of that.

  • They're fundamental.

I was born in Uganda in 1950,

Subtitles and vocabulary

Operation of videos Adjust the video here to display the subtitles

B1 protecting world polio smallpox people malaria

What would a world without vaccines be like? | BBC Ideas

  • 4 0
    Summer posted on 2021/03/25
Video vocabulary