Vaccines are not only immensely useful; they also embody something beautifully human in their combination of care and communication.

Vaccines do not task trick the immune system, as is sometimes said; they educate and train it.

As a resource of good public health, they allow doctors to whisper words of warning into the cells of their patients.

In an age short of trust, this intimacy between government policy and an individual immune system is easily misconstrued as a threat. But vaccines are not conspiracies or tools of control : they are molecular loving-kindness.

The best way to further honour this extraordinary set of technologies is to use it more and better.

GAVI, a private-public global-health partnership has made over 1 billion doses of various vaccines available to children in poor and middle-income countries this century; it believes that has averted over 17 million deaths.

Even so, millions of children receive no vaccinations at all.

The World Students Society thanks The Economist.


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