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Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  1,265 ratings  ·  143 reviews

His goal—to prevent every disease that commonly attacked children—was unattainable. But Maurice Hilleman came close.

Maurice Hilleman is the father of modern vaccines. Chief among his accomplishments are nine vaccines that practically every child gets, rendering formerly deadly diseases — including mumps, rubella, and measles — nearly forgotten. Author Paul A. Offit's ri

Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2007)
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Always Pouting
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this book is a brief history of vaccination and most of it talks about Maurice Hilleman's career and life but the author also makes mentions of various other people involved in the making of vaccines through out. I bought this book thinking it be about the history of vaccines but it's mostly centered around Hilleman who is actually quite impressive and deserves a biography. The book was interesting and the writing was clear and easy to read. If you like the human interest aspect of things and ...more
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"That's the problem with vaccines. When they work, absolutely nothing happens. Nothing. Parents go on with their lives, not once thinking that their child was saved from meningitis caused by Hib or from liver cancer caused by Hepatitis B or from fatal pneumonia caused by pneumococcus or from paralysis caused by polio. We live in a state of blissful denial. But somebody was getting those diseases. Before pharmaceutical companies made the Hib vaccine in the early 1990s, every year about ten thousa ...more
Simon Eskildsen
Apr 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Finally a pandemic-themed book that delivers, hurray!

Vaccinated is about the history of vaccines, in particular those in the 20th century, and in even more particular by one Maurice Hilleman. You might think that's a limiting scope until you realize he's behind the measles, hep a, hep b, meningitis, mumps, ... and other vaccines. Guy's a monster. He never received any Nobel prize (or much public recognition), because Nobel prizes are for scientific discoveries, not for people who the people who
Jan 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
According to Maurice Hilleman, we can expect our next deadly influenza pandemic to strike us in 2025; it will be from the same strain of virus that infected millions in 1889 and 1957. Hilleman discovered that pandemics of the same strain occur every 68 years, which is effectively a life span, and just enough time for a new set of people with no exposure or immunity to reach adulthood and die (the deadliest influenza viruses predominantly kill healthy adults, not the infants and elderly who are t ...more
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I hardly know where to start with this book. Probably with...I teach microbiology to nurses, and I'm a rubella baby. That explains a lot in a nutshell for why I picked up this book. I certainly wanted to know more about the man who 'made' or developed a lot of the vaccines (including the MMR vaccine) which so many people now take for granted. I'm very perplexed as to why I have never heard Hilleman's name before, not in any books, not in med school. I don't care that he worked in corporate Ameri ...more
Jeremy Ward
I read this in follow-up to Offit's other book, "Vaccines: What Every Parent Should Know", which was a self-assigned project I gave myself to learn more about the history of vaccines and how they are made.

"Vaccines" was very dry and formulaic, as each chapter was virtually the same (define the illness, how it affects people, how the vaccine is made, etc.), and was much more difficult to finish than "Vaccinated". "Vaccinated" focused primarily on the life of one man, Maurice Hilleman, and the res
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Vaccinated: One Man’s Quest to Defeat the World’s Deadliest Diseases by Paul A. Offit

“Vaccinated” tells the important yet little known story of the father of modern vaccines Maurice Hilleman. Professor of Vaccinology and Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Paul A. Offit describes in wonderful detail the research behind the vaccines that transformed the world. This insightful 272-page book includes the following twelve unnumbered chapters: The Time Capsu
Nov 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Certainly an unique book.

Offit writing style is quite plain, but he makes up for that giving plenty of good information in a very sensible way.
He manages to go into the science deep enough for readers to understand what's actually going on, but he avoids jargon-ridden explanations which would be somewhat confusing.
So I would say he managed to write a very balanced book.

Vaccinated is the story of Maurice Hilleman, who developed not one but nine! of the most important vaccines.
We are told shortly
Nov 06, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look at Maurice Hilleman, who developed most of the vaccines that are in use today. We are definitely blessed to live in a day where we can prevent disease by vaccination. However, it concerns me that we rely so completely on them rather than continuing to develop more antibiotics (and looking for safer methods of prevention).

I was bothered by the "guinea pig" style testing of vaccines on those persons institutionalized, homeless, or poverty-stricken. The author is a doctor and is
Jun 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was amazing. It's the history of vaccines, most of them created by one man: Maurice Hilleman. I minored in microbiology in college and had never heard of this man. I don't know why he's not revered more than he is. He's the reason we have the measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, HiB, and pnuemococcus vaccines, plus 3 others I can't remember right now. He was a genius.

I got more and more infuriated at the ignorance of people who refuse to vaccinate their children as the book went on.

Nov 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is an excellent, quick account of the history of development of most major vaccinations, mainly in the twentieth century. The development of vaccines has saved literally millions of people around the globe. It's also the story of the man responsible for most of this amazing success, Maurice Hilleman. The most startling thing to me is that Hilleman is such an obscure figure when he should be venerated with the likes of Pasteur, Salk, and Sabin in the annuls of world medicine. Author Pau ...more
Nov 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a good book with a few flaws that keep me from rating it 5 stars.

I felt the author oftentimes excused things that were simply atrocious that used to happen when testing vaccines. Testing vaccines on mentally challenged children isn't kosher no matter how he tried to spin it. He would've been better off not trying to excuse it in my opinion.

I also felt that this book jumped around a lot from different points in time as well as different discoveries and people. I found myself lost if I had
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book does an excellent job of personalizing the history of vaccinations. Offit clearly admires his main subject, Hilleman, but is willing to show his flaws. The book captured my attention as it mixed history and science and helped me to better understand disease, genetics, biology, and chemistry in an interesting way. I was amazed as I read about the horrible diseases that caused blindness, deafness, mental retardation, birth defects, and death not long ago, but are now virtually non-existe ...more
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would have given this 4.5 stars if I could.

This book chronicles the accomplishments of Dr. Maurice Hilleman, the man who was integral to the development of many vaccines, but who none of us know about. It was fascinating. I learned an incredible amount about the science behind the creation of vaccines, and feel much more informed about the process and scientific principles behind it. This is partly because the author doesn't just focus on Hilleman, but also included vignettes describing the w
Apr 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dcpl-digital
Maurice Hilleman developed many of the vaccines in use today, though his name is unknown to just about everybody. Offit's biography is a lovely tribute to the man who has saved so many lives with his work.

The science parts of the book are well-written and accessible--the painstaking methods used to develop vaccines are fascinating and it's hard to believe how sophisticated the work was without computers and other technology that now makes quick work of tasks that used to take weeks.

Offit brings
This book feels like the biography the Maurice Hilleman presented here would have wanted: one that focused more on his accomplishments and less on himself. Not just the story of Hilleman and his 9 world-changing vaccines, it also discusses the history of the search for a cure for disease, concurrent discoveries that relied on or made his possible, and the effect of the fraudulent report connecting vaccines and autism.

The author does a great job of both explaining the importance of vaccinations a
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. This was a fascinating account of vaccines and how they came to be. I loved learning about those involved in the science and especially about Hilleman who was a front runner and leader in so many vaccines for diseases. I have great appreciation for his work although I, much like many, had never heard his name.
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book. Worth reading!
Lesley Handel
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Interesting subject matter but the writing felt clunky at times. I wish I could have gotten more into it.
Sep 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Pharmaceutical companies in the United States made vaccines by growing bacteria in pure culture, killing them with chemicals, and putting dead bacteria in a tablet. They called these vaccines bacterins. Bacterins were sold to prevent strep throat, acne, gonorrhea, skin infections, pneumonia, scarlet fever, meningitis, and intestinal and bladder infections. Bacterins were easily ingested, readily available, simple to make, and highly lucrative. There was only one problem: they didn’t work. Nor
Kristi Thielen
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Paul Offit’s lucidly written book is a good read for anyone interested in learning more about Maurice Hillman, the largely unknown developer of 9 vaccines that transformed health in the 20th century. The book also explores other vaccine originators and details how the vaccines came about and the obstacles (scientific and cultural) which the originators faced.

Hillman was somewhat off-putting as an individual: haughty, profane and demanding. His vaccine trial methods – using them on children in h
Oct 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wish I could give this 4.5 stars. The book doesn't get 5 stars because there are periods where the story gets on tangents that seem irrelevant and some repetition, but in my experience it would be a very rare biography that doesn't have these issues. It seems to be a part of the genre. However, it is an excellent biography about a very influential man I knew nothing about. As an RN, a parent, and the wife of a vaccine industry professional, I definitely should have known about Maurice Hilleman ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing, utterly inspiring account of a true hero people should know better

Dr Maurice Hilleman arguably had the greatest positive influence on human health in the history of the world. Through ingenuity, drive, and sheer chutzpah, he developed not one, not two, but NINE modern vaccines to prevent measles, mumps, rubella, chickenpox, Hep A, Hep B, pneumococcus, meningococcus, and Haemophilus influenzae type B. Most remain in use to this day, and have collectively prevented billions of cases of di
Sep 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Maurice Hilleman: singlehandedly pushed through a vaccine that mitigated the influenza epidemic of 1957; developed vaccines against mumps, rubella, measles, Japanese encephalitis virus, hepatitis A and B, pneumonia, and Haemophilus influenzae type b. Most of his vaccines are still in use to this day. He never won the Nobel Prize for his work, and to this day few people know his name, let alone his accomplishments.
Dr. Offit uses Hilleman's work to organize the book and take readers through t
Jan 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dan
Wonderful explanation of the development of vaccines and the theory behind them. There is also quite a bit of background on viral and bacterial diseases. The book focuses on Maurice Hilleman, with just the right amount of his personal history to stay interesting without speculation or becoming too personal. Growing up with vaccines, I hadn't realized until reading this book how new they are or how crude the methods of making them were until very recently. The diseases and their impacts are also ...more
Jul 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a VERY interesting book. I was intrigued but not glued to the pages for sure. This is the story of the evolution of vaccines and the life and contributions of Maurice Hilleman. Hilleman contributed more to the development of vaccines than any other person, but his name isn't recognized by the majority of people. I have heard off and on about the controversy surrounding vaccines and Mercury and autism. I really like the approach taken I this book to explain the controversy and the scient ...more
Feb 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I work in biopharmaceuticals and my manager actually lent me this book. I'm usually wary of other people recommending me books but this book was so enthralling I read it in a matter of hours. It is essentially the biography of Maurice Hilleman, a scientist at Merck whose name you probably do not know but who definitely changed your life. He developed most of the vaccines that we thank today for, you know, not dying horrible deaths in childhood. It's impossible not to like Hilleman, who through h ...more
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic and fascinating read. I've been curious lately about the debate regarding vaccinations and so I decided to educate myself. I didn't expect to be so interested in the history and the making of so many vaccines that we still use today.

The author also discusses the claim that autism is linked with vaccinations, and he very convincingly rebuts the notion. Interestingly enough, while I was reading this book, I discovered a news article that reinforced the author's claim. The art
Emily Peterson
3.5 stars

Liked: Excellent job explaining the way that vaccines were developed and made in a way that someone without a scientific background could understand; also good discussion on the way that different diseases infect and spread; I enjoyed learning more about a man who has saved millions of lives (he also did a good job explaining why Hilleman is not a household name when it really should be).

Didn't Like: Although I am definitely provaccine, I was annoyed at the last chapters explaining the
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Maurice Hilleman is very likely one of the reasons why I am alive to write this review today. He created a large number of our current vaccinations and has significantly influenced scientific practice regarding disease prevention. Yet very few know his name. I am extremely interested in vaccinations, yet even I didn't know about him. Thank you Dr. Offit for this informative history on Hilleman and for a thorough examination regarding vaccine development. The sections on how Hilleman managed to a ...more
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Paul A. Offit, MD is the Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Dr. Offit is also the Maurice R. Hilleman Professor of Vaccinology, and a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is a recipient of many awards including the J. Edmund Bradley Prize for Excellence ...more

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