School of Medicine & Online

Hybrid VDC
October 4, 2023

Vaccination: Past, Present, Future

Vaccines Don't Save Lives ...
Reflections From a Career Spent Improving Vaccine Access and Uptake

Walter A. (Walt) Orenstein, MD

Charter Member, Vaccine Dinner Club

Formerly (over the course of his career*):
Assistant Surgeon General, USPHS;
President, National Foundation for Infectious Diseases;
Deputy Director, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Immunization Programs;
Chair, World Health Organization Immunization and Vaccines Related Implementation Research Advisory Committee (IVIR-AC);
Director, United States Immunizations Program (CDC);
Director, Vaccine Policy and Development (Emory);
Associate Director, Emory Vaccine Center

*This represents only a partial list

Clubhouse Location:
Plaza and Room 110, Emory School of Medicine
Agenda: (all times Eastern time zone)
6:00pm — wine, cheese, networking
6:30pm — Online presenters, members, and guests login
6:35pm — Meeting convenes
8:00pm — Q & A
8:15pm — Adjourn, braced to face the Fall semester*

*Note the lack of post-program Dinner .... The VDC is attempting a SOFT RE-LAUNCH back into in-person meetings. So for the first couple of months we will provide pre-meeting reception food only.

As always, if you want to receive a recording of the meeting, but can't attend in real time, register to attend and select "Attending Online." That will guarantee that you receive a copy of the link the next day.

Dear Vacineers,

There is a tradition in academia for particularly respected faculty members who are retiring to give a "Last Lecture" during which they summarize their history in, and thoughts about, their particular field of expertise. Those lectures are almost always fascinating, even the ones that don't get made into best selling books and videos that rack up more than 21M views.

So, as soon as I heard that Walt Orenstein -- charter member of both the VDC and its advisory committee -- was planning to retire after more than 45 years spent promoting access and uptake of vaccines around the world, I POUNCED!

Begging may have been involved.

In a public setting.

If all this reminds you of those times in which some hapless individual suddenly finds themself on the Jumbotron at the ball park, receiving a proposal of marriage in front of thousands of strangers who are all screaming "Say Yes!," it was TOTALLY like that, only different.

For one, unlike like person, Dr. Orenstein didn't say No.

About Walt Orenstein .... His first memorable exposure to the world of vaccines took place when he was a kid growing up in The Bronx, New York. Back then, in the early 1950s, polio was every parent's worst nightmare. In 1952 alone, for example, there were 57,628 cases of polio reported in the United States, 3,145 deaths, and 21,269 children left paralyzed.

And then a miracle happened. In his own words: "In 1955, when I was in second grade, the Salk polio vaccine was licensed. I didn't know anything about polio at that age and was not thrilled to be getting a shot. But my mother said to me "Better you should cry than I should cry." So I got the shot.

I don't know the degree to which his mother's attitude shaped his future career -- Note to self: ask him that at the meeting -- but it is pretty much impossible to calculate how many millions of human lives have been saved over the last 4+ decades due to Walt's work in vaccine research, policy, education, and advocacy.

Knowing that, as he likes to say, "a vaccine that remains in the vial is 0% effective, regardless of what the clinical trials show," Dr. Orenstein has spent his ENTIRE CAREER working on methods to overcome vaccine hesitancy and enhance uptake of recommended vaccines.

And what a stunningly successful, glorious career it has been! So, So, SO many lives saved, because of him.

Want to hear more about it and celebrate the professional life of one of the all time great humanitarian scientists? Come, in person or online, to the VDC on Wednesday, October 4, to hear and enjoy Dr. Walter A. (Walt) Orenstein's 'Last Lecture.'

Hope to see you (and all the friends you want to invite) at the Club on October 4,
-Kimbi Hagen
Your friendly neighborhood Vaccine Dinner Club Goddess


Read more about the VDC here.

Want to join the Club?
Send an email to me at kbs.hagen@emory.edu.

Kimbi Hagen, EdD
VDC Director/Goddess