Mike the Mad Biologist

One Unsung Success of Science

This week, our benevolent Seed Overlords ask, “What are some unsung successes that have occurred as a result of using science to guide policy?” Well, I thunked, and thunked, and thunked. Then my head began to hurt. Then I thought of one unsung success.


Think about it. Typically, vaccination policy is decided by experts, and politicians usually don’t meddle in it. There are problems with our vaccination policy–we don’t vaccinate enough people, and we vaccinate the wrong groups (most experts claim that the most effective strategy would be to vaccinate those under 18, since they are the ‘disease vectors’, not the target populations like the elderly).

Nonetheless, our vaccination policies are pretty good. We’ve even developed vaccines for ‘non-epidemic’ diseases like streptococcal pneumonia which save thousands of lives every year. So I’ll claim vaccination as a slightly qualified, and very unsung success.


  1. #1 CaptainMike
    June 30, 2006

    You raise a good point about it being an unsung success. I seem to recall hearing something about smallpox being stamped out. There should have been dancing in the streets, but most people don’t really seem to care.

  2. #2 Sandra Porter
    June 30, 2006

    And now, for the first time, we have a vaccination against a sexually-transmitted disease, HPV!

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    April 10, 2009

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    July 23, 2009

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