Vaccination 100 Years Ago and Today: What Is The Difference?



Few innovations in the world have been more important than vaccines. There is a long list of vaccines that exist to protect us from a wide range of illnesses and diseases. They have helped us essentially eliminate diseases like smallpox and polio, and have greatly reduced the impact of others.

Now, with the Covid-19 vaccines here and being distributed in many areas around the world, there is a renewed interest in vaccines. Be sure to learn more about the Covid-19 vaccine, it’s safety and how to store it properly. While the Covid-19 vaccines are new, vaccines themselves have been around for well over a century.

But with vaccines being around for so long, there have been some differences from how vaccines are now and how things used to be 100 years ago. This article is going to go over a few of them.

The Way Vaccines Work Has Changed


The way that vaccines are created and administered has also changed a lot over the years. Around 100 years ago, nearly all vaccines were created by using a weakened or killed version of the virus, or a critical component of the virus. This was then injected into the body, and then your body would create antibodies to destroy it.

The body would remember this blueprint to defeat the virus, so if you come in contact with the real and full virus, your body will already know how to destroy it before it has an impact. This was effective at protecting people from the virus, but there was a caveat. In some cases, the vaccine could actually infect people with the virus it was trying to protect. This was generally only the case if the person had a compromised immune system, but it was still a problem in certain cases.

While these vaccines still exist and are safe for the average person, there are new ways to vaccinate. One of which is an mRNA vaccine, such as the Covid-19 vaccines, which are very exciting.

Instead of using a weakened version of the virus, these vaccines only contain the mRNA of the spike protein of the virus. This gives your body the instructions on how to build and destroy the spike protein that is responsible for infecting your body with the virus. So your body still gets immunity to Covid-19, without the actual virus needing to be used at all. You can be sure the future will lead to several more innovations in this space that make vaccines even safer and more effective.

Vaccines are More Accessible


The accessibility of vaccines today is also much different (and better) than it was in the past. In the past, accessibility for vaccines lagged behind for a couple of reasons. First of all, the supply chain simply wasn’t that effective and it took longer for vaccines to reach their destination, and many areas simply went without them.

Another issue was the cost. While vaccines are expensive now in some cases, they are attainable for most and some are even covered fully. In the past, that wasn’t the case. Many of the vaccines were more rare, and thus, more expensive. Many families, especially in poorer countries, simply couldn’t afford the costs.

Also, less vaccines were being made in the past. While they are very popular now, this wasn’t always the case. In fact, many companies slowed or stopped the production of vaccines simply because they weren’t that profitable to create, which hurt how accessible some of the treatments were.

People Trust Them More

While people in the past didn’t inherently not trust vaccines, they were relatively new. As with any new innovation in the medical space, it can take a while for people to get comfortable with it. This lack of trust or understanding still exists amongst some today, but most of the population can see and understand the value of a vaccine, and don’t need convincing to get them.

A big part of this is the campaigns that several organizations have done over the years and decades to spread awareness of the benefits of these vaccines, and dispel the myths. These helped a much greater number of people grow comfortable with vaccines and learn more about how they work.

In conclusion, we hope this article has been able to show you some of the differences between vaccination 100 years ago vs. today.