Vaccine History

Healthy troops complete their missions. Vaccines will keep you and your team healthy.

  • Vaccines shield you from dangerous germs. These germs can kill you or cause lasting harm. Vaccines prevent infections, such as tetanus, typhoid fever, measles, yellow fever, smallpox, and anthrax, to name just a few.
  • Vaccines keep units fit to fight. We fight as a team. All team members must be healthy.
  • Vaccines benefit both individuals and units. Vaccines keep people healthy so they can live better lives. Vaccines keep people healthy so they can do their mission. Vaccines help you return home healthy.

Vaccines have kept troops healthy since the days of George Washington.

  • George Washington protected his troops from smallpox in 1777 using a forerunner of vaccination called “variolation”. We lost the Battle of Quebec in 1776, because our troops weren't protected against smallpox. Americans suffered 5,500 smallpox casualties among 10,000 colonial troops. The task force commander, Major General John Thomas, died of smallpox.
  • From 1777 to today, vaccines prevented American troops from dangerous infections. Typhoid vaccine reduced typhoid casualties from 20,000 in Spanish-American War of 1898 to just 1,500 in World War I. During all of World War II, only 12 cases of tetanus occurred among vaccinated US troops, but numerous tetanus deaths occurred among the unvaccinated Germany Army (Wehrmacht).
  • Vaccines are among the most important accomplishments in medicine. Vaccines have saved more lives throughout the world than any other medical invention. Vaccines have saved more lives than antibiotics or surgery. Only clean water has saved more lives than vaccines.
  • Immunization and its history in the U.S. Armed Forces is discussed in greater detail in an article entitled Immunization to Protect the U.S. Armed Forces: Heritage, Current Practice, Prospects.
>> Anthrax Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program(AVIP) Status - 3 million+ people vaccinated with 12.3 million+ doses of anthrax vaccine since March 1998
>> Smallpox Smallpox Vaccination Program (SVP) Status - 2.4 million+ people vaccinated with smallpox vaccine since December 2002