Vaccines & Immunization: Epidemics, Prevention & Canadian Innovation, The Online Exhibit
Vaccines and immunization are clear success stories. Yet, because vaccines are so successful at preventing disease, the public often takes them for granted. Vaccines are not perfect, but their importance becomes unmistakable when the history of infectious diseases and the development of vaccines designed to prevent them are explored together.
This online exhibit is an extension of a physical exhibit mounted at the Museum of Health Care in Kingston, which opened in November 2013. The main focus is on four key vaccines and the deadly and/or disabling diseases they prevent: smallpox, diphtheria, poliomyelitis and pertussis (aka whooping cough).
The primary goals are to look back on the unique Canadian experience with these diseases and their personal impact before the vaccines became available, focus the spotlight on the major role Canadian scientists played in their development, production and use, and underscore their public health importance in preventing, controlling or eradicating these diseases.
The online exhibit also highlights the history of several other dangerous disease threats and the vaccines designed to prevent them from a Canadian perspective: rabies, tetanus, tuberculosis, influenza, measles and Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib).
The main focus of this exhibit is historical, but with an emphasis on the ongoing importance of vaccines for children, youth and adults from a public health perspective.
This exhibit is designed to showcase the Museum of Health Care’s collection and to supplement existing information that is available from other websites about vaccines that are historical, public health or medically focused.
A key goal is to use the dramatic power of historical example and perspective about the impact of serious, debilitating and deadly diseases in Canada before and after vaccines were available to better inform those making decisions about immunization for themselves, their families, and for the wider community.