The anti-vaccine movement is a disturbingly growing phenomenon in the United States and across the globe, despite the enormous evidence of disease averted and lives saved though the decades.

According to a new study in the journal, AIMS Public Health, Dr. S. Jay Olshansky, professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health and the creator of the WI-38 cell strain, Dr. Leonard Hayflick estimate that nearly 200 million cases of polio, measles, mumps, rubella, varicella, adenovirus, rabies and hepatitis A — and approximately 450,000 deaths from these diseases — were prevented in the U.S. alone between 1963 and 2015 by vaccination developed from this cell strain.


Globally, the vaccines developed from this strain and its derivatives prevented an estimated 4.5 billion cases of disease and saved more than 10 million lives.

In an interview with Leonard Hayflick, PhD, I asked him for his thoughts on the anti-vaccine movement and this is what he said:

“Yes, it’s a very sad situation that developed in the past decade or so, and that is many people have decided that vaccines are dangerous. Nothing could be further from the truth.

“It is true to say that there are a occasional vaccinees, or recipients of vaccines who do have side effects that are unwanted, undesirable, rarely fatal, because these individuals are peculiarly sensitive to foreign materials put into their bodies.

“But the numbers of these people are so rare and the benefits the vaccines are so great that to deny a child a vaccine is to have that child flirt with possible disability or death.

“Many people believe there are additives in these vaccines that may have caused disease. That is simply not true. The paper that originally described that possibility has been retracted, although it’s quoted by the anti-vaxxers, as they’re called, and the very figures that I recited here what was one of the purposes of this publication, was to show people the tremendous benefits that vaccines have for human health.

“There is no other medication that one could challenge that has resulted in a greater benefit to humankind than have viral vaccines and bacterial vaccines as well.”

Listen to Hayflick’s comment below:

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LISTEN to the entire 24 minute interview: Vaccines, the WI-38 cell strain and 10 million lives saved: A conversation with Dr. Leonard Hayflick