Perhaps there is a recent scientific achievement that stands out above the rest: the development of vaccines against COVID-19 and the nearly 7 billion doses administered globally .
But this milestone would not have been possible without decades of prior research, which has led to the development and refinement of one of the greatest achievements in medicine.
Vaccines are most likely, along with antibiotics and hygiene measures, the health tool that has saved the most lives. It is estimated that they have prevented more than 1.5 billion deaths, much of them children.
But in the poorest countries, infectious diseases remain the leading cause of mortality in those under five years of age. In the last century, life expectancy in developed countries has increased by more than 40 years, and one of the keys has been fighting infections.
The same has not happened in the most disadvantaged regions of the planet, where children remain especially vulnerable to the threat of viruses and bacteria.
Although the distribution remains uneven, after the great achievement in the development of vaccines for COVID-19, organizations and experts advocate incorporating the learnings of this process beyond the pandemic to improve the deficiencies that still exist.
When it comes to infectious diseases, the risk of one person is always the risk of all, and that is why vaccination becomes a mandatory objective.
As Virginia Rodríguez , head of Political Advocacy at the Barcelona Global Health Institute, recalls , “the immunization of the population is the public health intervention with the greatest impact when it comes to seeking a higher level of health, especially that of younger children. of five years”.
“The lower infant mortality in developed countries is due to vaccines, and to a general state of advance in science that allows other health practices. But of course, the impact of vaccines is what allows us to continue moving forward to address other types of issues , having these most basic, preventable deaths from infections, already solved, “he explains.