This week Bill and Melinda Gates used their tenth annual letter to answer ten tough questions, citing their work improving vaccine coverage as one of their biggest achievements in India and encouraging governments to invest in vaccines and nutrition. Melinda also publicly criticised Trump’s “misguided” budget, which includes an almost $2.5 billion reduction to the Global Health Programs account.
Speaking at the World Government Summit in Dubai, the head of the WHO warned that a deadly epidemic could start at any time, and we’re not ready.
Outbreaks underlined his point. Officials in Nigeria confirmed that Lassa fever (for which there is no vaccines) had claimed 43 lives. As the killer flu season continued to cause concerns in the northern hemisphere, calls for a universal vaccine were renewed. In China, the first human case of H7N4 bird flu was confirmed. Brazil continued to battle yellow fever, though, more positively, a study showed that fractional dosing of yellow fever vaccines had proved effective in the 2016 DRC outbreak.
According to a study released this week, the beneficial effects of the measles vaccine go beyond direct prevention of measles. However, officials also announced that measles cases in Europe tripled in 2017 due to low immunisation rates.
Meanwhile, Forbes asks how babies survived in the 80s with half the doses of only seven vaccines (the answer? Not as many did.)