One of my favorite charts on the power of vaccines

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diarrhea related deaths

I’m posting this because I found the graphic in a file folder on my computer and didn’t want to lose it. It’s originally from my profile of Bill Gates from last year’s Forbes Power List issue. The data (and the original version of the graph) come from the New England Journal of Medicine. This is a graph of what happened when the vaccine against rotavirus, a major cause of infant diarrhea, was introduced in Mexico.

See that series of mountains? Those are the big peaks in deaths that were caused each time rotavirus season came around. After the vaccine was introduced (one rotavirus vaccine is made by Merck; there’s also a GlaxoSmithKline vaccine), those mountains just get sheared off. Those are kids who are not dying as a result of a vaccine a short period of time after its use. To me, it’s a very dramatic graph and evidence of the power that pharmaceutical products can have to improve people’s lives in the right circumstances.


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