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Twelve hypodermic needles, China, 1994

Twelve hypodermic needles, China, 1994

Credits: Science Museum

Hypodermic needles are used to inject drugs or vaccines into the body through the skin. This set of twelve stainless steel needles was approved for use in the Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) run by UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Fund) and the WHO (World Health Organisation). They were made in Shanghai, China, and can be sterilised by boiling in water or being passed though a flame. When the programme was launched in 1974, fewer than five per cent of children were vaccinated against diseases such as tetanus and measles. Today that figure is eighty per cent.

Object number:

1994-148 Pt2

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    Glossary: vaccination

    The introduction of vaccine into the body for the purpose of inducing immunity. Coined originally to apply to the injection of smallpox vaccine, the term has come to mean any immunising procedure in which vaccine is injected.

    Glossary: tetanus

    An acute infectious disease, affecting the nervous system. Infection generally occurs through contamination of a wound. Symptoms include a locked jaw, arching of the back or neck and the inability to urinate.

    Glossary: measles

    Disease caused by a virus most commonly found in children. Measles is spread through airborne fluids. In roughly the last 150 years, measles has been estimated to have killed 200 million people worldwide.

    Glossary: hypodermic needle

    A hollow needle with a sharp point. A hypodermic needle is often used with a syringe to inject substances into the body.