The next time you line up for a flu shot or receive vaccinations prior to going on a trip, consider the situation of people a few generations back.
There was no vaccine against the Spanish flu of 1918–19, which killed an estimated 20 to 40 million people worldwide.
Until 1955, there was no vaccine against polio, which in Canada alone crippled tens of thousands of children in the first half of the twentieth century.
An effective vaccine against smallpox was developed in the late eighteenth century, but not before wiping out millions of Aboriginal people in North America.
The Museum of Health Care at Kingston, Ontario offer a fascinating look at Canada’s vaccine history with their online exhibit.