Dimensions of vaccination campaigns in contemporary Mexico

At the end of the nineteenth century, the Sanitary Code, created by the Superior Council of Health to dictate the measures of public hygiene, advised to vaccinate children from four months of age. By the beginning of the twentieth century this practice became mandatory and this institution was responsible for the work of providing and recording the number of vaccinations that were mainly carried out in the capital of Mexico.

By Archivo General de la Nación - México

Petición de cambio de practica en la vacunación (1912) by Secretaría de Instrucción Pública de Bellas ArtesArchivo General de la Nación - México

For the first decade of the 20th century, the Balmis arm-to-arm vaccination method was still practiced, although the risks of origin were still present.

Cuadro del número de vacunaciones practicadas en la capital de 1872 a 1900 (1900) by Secretaría de Instrucción Pública de Bellas ArtesArchivo General de la Nación - México

At the end of the 19th century, the Health Code, created by the Higher Health Council to dictate public hygiene measures, recommended vaccinating children from four months of age. By the beginning of the 20th century, this practice became mandatory and said institution was in charge of providing and registering the number of vaccinations that were mainly carried out in the capital of Mexico.

Petición de cambio de practica en la vacunación (1912) by Secretaría de Instrucción Pública de Bellas ArtesArchivo General de la Nación - México

One of them is exemplified in this document in which, with the creation of the National Bacteriological Institute in 1905, the Health Council was asked to stop using the previous technique because a girl contracted syphilis after being vaccinated.

Unidad móvil de vacunación (1927) by Enrique Díaz, Enrique Delgado y Manuel GarcíaArchivo General de la Nación - México

Thus, by 1918, variolose vaccination was prohibited from arm to arm and that from cattle had to be used.

Preparación de primer la vacuna contra fiebre tifoidea en México (1914) by Secretaría de Instrucción Pública de Bellas ArtesArchivo General de la Nación - México

With the National Bacteriological Institute already in place, studies were carried out aimed at the production of serums and vaccines with which to combat diseases and prevent epidemics. Between 1910-1911, despite the economic limitations and pressures exerted by Porfirist officials, great research was done with results such as the preparation of the first vaccine against typhoid fever in Mexico.

Personal médico (1956) by Secretaría de Educación PúblicaArchivo General de la Nación - México

After the ravages caused by the armed struggle, in the decade of the 20s, Mexico promoted the health care of the population with multiple measures such as the creation of the Department of Public Health in 1917. The Department contributed to health organization, policy enactment, health workers and campaigns against yellow fever, smallpox and malaria.

Petición de la creación un dispensario de vacunación (1921) by Secretaría de Instrucción Pública de Bellas ArtesArchivo General de la Nación - México

The installation of dispensaries was necessary for its operation. The document you observe exposes the importance of these and their benefits to combat venereal diseases. It should be noted that the dispensaries favored the health project that was intended to be strengthened throughout the country with campaigns and hygienic education given by nurses, as well as the dissemination of sanitation activities.

Campañas de vacunación para infantes (1956) by Secretaría de Educación PúblicaArchivo General de la Nación - México

In the presidential time of Plutarco Elías Calles, actions were proposed aimed at innovating in the production and application of immunizations, as well as the promotion of a Department of Public Health in order to generate strategies such as hygienic education programs and the installation of medical services throughout the country.

Campañas de vacunación para infantes (1956) by Secretaría de Educación PúblicaArchivo General de la Nación - México

In preventive practice, the Department faced tensions with the scientific methods developed. On 4 December 1926 it was published in the Official Journal that the Dick and Schick tests would be compulsory for every infant. 

Informes del uso de las pruebas de Dick y Schick (1958) by Secretaría de Salubridad y AsistenciaArchivo General de la Nación - México

The Dick test sought to generate immunity for scarlet fever and the Schick test sought to detect diphtheria.

Informes del uso de las pruebas de Dick y Schick (1958) by Secretaría de Salubridad y AsistenciaArchivo General de la Nación - México

Informes del uso de las pruebas de Dick y Schick (1958) by Secretaría de Salubridad y AsistenciaArchivo General de la Nación - México

However, as the document shows, there was resistance and questioning in its application in the school population.

Campañas de vacunación para infantes (1956) by Secretaría de Educación PúblicaArchivo General de la Nación - México

Since the mid-twentieth century, Mexican public health institutions have intensified vaccination. In 1952 smallpox was eradicated, with reinforcement campaigns in 1968 and 1970 for the Olympic Games and the World Cup. In 1953, an intense campaign fought a polio epidemic and continued into the following years. To this end, the infrastructure of existing institutions such as the Ministry of Public Education was used.

Campañas de vacunación para infantes (1956) by Secretaría de Educación PúblicaArchivo General de la Nación - México

In 1952, American virologist Jonas Edward Salk developed the first effective polio vaccine without secondary problems. His method was to intramuscularly inject the virus into the kidney tissue of apes to develop antibodies synthetically.

Uso de la vacuna Salk Antipoliomelítica y campañas contra poliomelitis (1958) by Secretaría de Salubridad y AsistenciaArchivo General de la Nación - México

In Mexico, the first recorded case of polio occurred in Orizaba, Veracruz in 1946 and affected 9,000 people.  The Ministry of Health and Public Assistance considered moving apes to the Chapultepec Zoo for breeding and replicating Salk's vaccine. The application of the method was effective, since by 1990 the last case was registered in the state of Jalisco.

Campañas de vacunación para infantes (1956) by Secretaría de Educación PúblicaArchivo General de la Nación - México

Since the mid-twentieth century, Mexican public health institutions have intensified vaccination. In 1952 smallpox was eradicated, with reinforcement campaigns in 1968 and 1970 for the Olympic Games and the World Cup. In 1953, an intense campaign fought a polio epidemic and continued into the following years. To this end, the infrastructure of existing institutions such as the Ministry of Public Education was used.

Campañas de vacunación para personal de salud (1961) by Secretaría de Educación PúblicaArchivo General de la Nación - México

In the 1950s and 1960s there were great challenges in the production of vaccines and in the execution of vaccination campaigns; the existing infrastructure was taken advantage of and reached the premises of schools of all levels, as shown by the Higher Normal School of the early 1960s.

Informe de presentación de certificados de vacunación para entrar a México (1962) by Secretaría de Relaciones ExterioresArchivo General de la Nación - México

In 1962, the Consular Migration Service facilitated the entry of Belizean citizens who sought refuge in the country after Hurricane Hattie in 1961. The Mexican Consulate in Belize was instructed not to require a typhoid vaccination certificate.  Over time, bilateral epidemiological programmes were tightened and formally established in 1984.  

Campañas de vacunación para personal de salud (1961) by Secretaría de Educación PúblicaArchivo General de la Nación - México

In 1962, the Consular Migration Service facilitated the entry of Belizean citizens who sought refuge in the country after Hurricane Hattie in 1961. The Mexican Consulate in Belize was instructed not to require a typhoid vaccination certificate.  Over time, bilateral epidemiological programmes were tightened and formally established in 1984.  

Campañas de vacunación para personal de salud (1961) by Secretaría de Educación PúblicaArchivo General de la Nación - México

With a large production capacity for triple diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis (DPT) vaccines, the National Institute of Hygiene collaborated with international programmes for children.

Donación de vacunas por parte de México a otros países (1965) by Secretaría de Salubridad y AsistenciaArchivo General de la Nación - México

In 1965, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) purchased 842,000 doses of vaccines from Mexico for international vaccination programs: 650,000 went to Kenya and 192,330 to Paraguay.

Vacuna elaborada en laboratorios mexicanos by Hermanos MayoArchivo General de la Nación - México

Donación de vacunas por parte de México a otros países (1968) by Secretaría de Salubridad y AsistenciaArchivo General de la Nación - México

Mexico has contributed to vaccination campaigns in the midst of international conflicts through humanitarian aid. With the crisis triggered in Africa by Nigeria's war against Biafra (1967-1970) also came diseases. Mexico expressed solidarity with those affected through its representation at the United Nations and in August 1968 a batch was sent with doses of vaccine against variolose, tetanus toxoid and tetanus antitoxin to support the inhabitants of Biafra.

Enfermera aplicando vacunación a una niña (1964) by Instituto Mexicano del Seguro SocialArchivo General de la Nación - México

Between the late 1960s and early 1970s, the capacities of regional vaccination application were refined in Mexico.

Informe de campaña de vacunación antipoliomielítica (1971) by Secretaría de Salubridad y AsistenciaArchivo General de la Nación - México

One of the cases of gradual extension of local to regional vaccination was carried out in Guerrero, in the south of the country. Before the 1960s, the area of operation was reduced to offices of the Ministry of Health and Assistance in some cities, but by 1970 a mass vaccination was achieved that reached a total of 171,614 children in a total of 1,719 localities.

Informe de campaña de vacunación antipoliomielítica (1971) by Secretaría de Salubridad y AsistenciaArchivo General de la Nación - México

Informe de un nuevo lote de vacunas adquirido (1972) by Secretaría de Salubridad y AsistenciaArchivo General de la Nación - México

By the early 1970s, the Coordinated Public Health Services in the states and territories in conjunction with health institutions were functioning in a more articulated manner: the faster distribution of the cholera vaccine was possible, which was exhausted and required accelerating the acquisition of lots.

Enfermera aplicando vacunación a una niña (1964) by Instituto Mexicano del Seguro SocialArchivo General de la Nación - México

These conditions made it possible to implement an ambitious vaccination program throughout the country in 1973. Thus, coverage with six central vaccines was expanded for two decades until the creation of the National Vaccination Program in the 1990s.

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Referencias documentales:
AGN, Gobernación [sin sección], caja 2219, exp. 3, año 1900, sección: s/s, México, Salubridad.
AGN, Justicia y Negocios Eclesiásticos, Instrucción Pública y Bellas Artes, vol. 284, exp. 7, 10 fs., año 1912, Secretaría de Instrucción Pública, Sección Universitaria.
AGN, Archivos Fotográficos, Enrique Díaz, Delgado y Garcia, Caja: 15/14.
AGN, Justicia y Negocios Eclesiásticos, Instrucción Pública y Bellas Artes, vol. 353, exp. 3, 2 fs. Año: 1914.
AGN, Archivo Histórico de la Secretaría de Educación Pública, sección Fototeca, SEP/25/116.
AGN, Archivos Presidenciales, Álvaro Obregón- Plutarco Elías Calles, Caja 051, exp. 121-D2-V3.
AGN, Archivo Histórico de la Secretaría de Educación Pública, sección Fototeca, SEP/30/106.
AGN, Archivos Presidenciales, Adolfo Ruiz Cortines, Caja 0557, exp. 462.3/36
AGN, Archivo Histórico de la Secretaría de Educación Pública, Fototeca, SEP/50/46.
AGN, Secretaría de la Salubridad y Asistencia, Oficina de Asuntos Internacionales, vol. 56, exp. 6.
AGN, Secretaría de la Salubridad y Asistencia, Dirección General Coordinados de Salud Pública y en Estados y Territorios, vol. 35, exp. 19.
AGN, Colección presidencia de la República, Adolfo López Mateos, Caja 0134, exp 134/37.

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