How One Man is Credited With Saving 8 Million Lives a Year
Nov 17, 2017
Saving 8 million lives a year may seem like a stretch, but not for Dr. Maurice Hilleman.
Hailed as one of the world’s greatest scientists, Dr. Hilleman helped develop 9 of the 14 routinely recommended vaccines in the U.S. And in 1957, he was the first person to successfully predict an influenza pandemic when he read of an outbreak occurring in Hong Kong. This led him to develop a vaccine for the U.S. that likely saved hundreds of thousands of lives. His life spanned one of the most productive periods in vaccine innovation, and since Dr. Hilleman was right in the middle of it, his life story is truly inspiring. Fortunately for science enthusiasts, it is now the focus of a new vaccine-related documentary, HILLEMAN: A Perilous Quest to Save the World’s Children.
Developed as part of the Vaccine Makers Project, produced by Medical History Pictures and sponsored by the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), the film includes exclusive interviews with Dr. Hilleman and his peers, rare archival footage, and 3-D animations.
The film is meant to not only introduce Dr. Hilleman and his amazing accomplishments, but to also describe the incredible scientific discovery and effort required to create safe and effective vaccines.
Over the last several months, the film has been shown by institutions such as the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. HILLEMAN has also been featured at immunization coalition conferences and national professional meetings, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, National Association of School Nurses, National Science Teachers Association, and National Association of Biology Teachers.
To complement the film, the Vaccine Makers Project has developed comprehensive educational materials for elementary, middle, high school and college students.
Educators are encouraged to utilize this flexible curriculum in whole or part to support learning objectives related to infectious diseases, the immune system, and how humans fight disease through technologies such as vaccines.
The Vaccine Makers Project has also collaborated with Families Fighting Flu (FFF) to present an eight-minute excerpt of HILLEMAN: A Perilous Quest to Save the World’s Children to remind families of the importance of annual influenza vaccines. Families Fighting Flu has made the film a central component of its fall awareness efforts. According to Serese Marotta, Chief Operating Officer of Families Fighting Flu,
“Every year, we remind families of the importance of influenza vaccination, often with members of our organization sharing their own personal experiences. This year, we hope that by sharing the film clip along with our personal stories, even more families will be compelled to prioritize influenza vaccination for themselves.”
Visit the Vaccine Makers Project to view a list of upcoming film screenings, gain access to the free educational materials, or to make an inquiry about the project.
For more information about influenza, visit the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for an in-depth look at the flu vaccine and an influenza fact sheet. And visit the Families Fighting Flu website to read stories of families who have been adversely affected by flu, view flu facts and download the Community Toolkit and other educational materials.
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