Vaccines in the developing world

Lesson 8

The impacts of immunisation in both developing and developed societies.

Learning outcomes & key terms

Students will learn about communicable diseases and their impact on a community

Students will learn about the impact of vaccination in developing and developed countries

Students will understand that many factors play a role in distributing vaccines

Students will learn to empathise with life situations different from their own

Emerging or developing societies

Societies that are characterised by a relatively low level of economic and technological development

Developed societies 

Societies that are characterised by a relatively high level of economic and technological development

Science understanding

Biological sciences

Describing how the requirements for life (for example oxygen, nutrients, water and removal of waste) are provided through the coordinated function of body systems such as the respiratory, circulatory, digestive, nervous and excretory systems

Explaining how body systems work together to maintain a functioning body using models, flow diagrams or simulations

Investigating the response of the body to changes as a result of the presence of micro-organisms

Science as a human endeavour

Scientific understanding, including models and theories, is contestable and is refined over time through a process of review by the scientific community

Advances in scientific understanding often rely on technological advances and are often linked to scientific discoveries

People use scientific knowledge to evaluate whether they accept claims, explanations or predictions, and advances in science can affect people’s lives, including generating new career opportunities

Values and needs of contemporary society can influence the focus of scientific research

Science enquiry skills

Formulate questions or hypotheses that can be investigated scientifically

Analyse patterns and trends in data, including describing relationships between variables and identifying inconsistencies

Vaccines can change the world

Helping those who need it most

Prof Booy explains the Cholera outbreak around the world and how war, dirty water and poor vaccination rates have caused this outbreak in 2018. In 2024, Cholera is again a major problem due to conflict and war, dirty water, and lack of vaccine supply and/or lack of implementation

Outside of clean drinking water, vaccines are the most effective way of protecting against infectious diseases

What is quarantine?

Quarantine is when a human or animal is isolated in a special place if they have been exposed to potentially harmful diseases

For example, when the American astronauts came back from the moon landing they were quarantined for 30 days as there was a concern that they may come into contact with harmful, unknown bacteria

In this video Prof Booy explains quarantine, shows some examples in Sydney and discusses why it is helpful to protect the traveller and the local community

Infectious diseases in the developing world

Prof G Dennis Shanks is responsible for ensuring that Australian soldiers who travel around the world are immunised to protect them against infections that they may meet at home or in foreign countries

Anytime society is disrupted through war, there can be one or more epidemics that emerge

Prof Shanks explores important and interesting diseases here and in the Pacific, and explains the fascinating flu pandemic which started during World War 1

Class workshop

You are going to discover what it’s like to be a part of a different community

You need to research this community and find out how vaccines have changed their world

You will report your findings to the class

Choose one of the countries below. Your teacher will make sure that most countries are included

Describe what it would be like to live in the community your have selected

  • What housing is there?
  • Do the children attend school?
  • Would they have running water?
  • Would their parents work?
  • How affluent is this community?
Research the following points on the your community and the disease that most affects it

  • What is the disease caused by and how does the disease affect the body?
  • Who does it affect the in community?
  • How is that community impacted by the disease?
  • How would a vaccine for the disease change the lives of that community?
  • How is the vaccine delivered?
  • How many doses are required to be effective?
  • How many deaths has the vaccine prevented around the world?
  • What factors affect it’s distribution to where it is needed (your community)?


Hi, my name is Adeeb

I live in a remote farming village in the mountains of Afghanistan

My dad made our house using mud and clay

We don’t get any visitor or outside

My dad says that there is a polio epidemic in the region and he is very worried – can you tell me why


Tyler is a 2 week old baby who lives in Brisbane, Australia

He lives in a house in an affluent suburb

His parents have insisted that all of their friends and family have the pertussis vaccination before anyone came to visit Tyler

Why would anyone from this community need a pertussis vaccine?


Mary is a 2 year old in Nigeria

She lives in a hut made from materials from the local rubbish dump

Clean water is not available in her village so her mother walks many miles to find water from a well

Sometimes the well becomes polluted and there is an outbreak of cholera

Why is it important for Mary’s mum to find a clean water well?

United States of America

My name is Miles and I live with my mum, dad and sister, Ella, in San Fransisco

We frequently visit Disney Land during the school holidays as it is our favourite place in the world!

Recently their has been an outbreak of measles at the resort and our parents are worried

We were never vaccinated their children as our parents don’t believe in it

I don’t think there is anything to worry about –I mean, this is America!

United Kingdom

Hey, I’m Laura and I live in London

I am 15 and I take the “tube” to school

Mum says that I have been vaccinated against Meningococcal disease but I don’t know why, and what types I’m protected against

Surely it’s really rare in a developed country?


I am Li Weiand used to live in a farming village

We have recently moved to the city to find work

My parents did not vaccinate me as we lived in a remote part of the country and vaccines were not available. They were not vaccinated either

My dad has been told that he has hepatitis B – what does that mean for us?


Immunisation rates are very different across the developing and developed world

Not everyone is immunised from the common or rare infectious diseases. This can affect not just health, but also the economic prosperity of the local community and the country

Vaccines can help bring children and their parents out of poverty


1) Cholera
a) Occurs equally all over the world
b) Is no longer a problem, it’s been eradicated
c) Is caused by a parasite
d) Occurs in places where clean drinking water isn’t readily available

2) Quarantine is
a) Effective for diseases with a short incubation and recovery time
b) Is effective for all diseases
c) Has only been used since the COVID-19 pandemic began
d) Isn’t important

3) In 1918 the Spanish influenza affected
a) Children the most
b) Animals the most
c) Healthy adults the most
d) Old people the most

4) Vaccines contribute to
a) Children’s ability to attend school because they’re sick less often
b) Children’s chance of getting a better job because they can finish their education
c) Parent’s ability to work because they don’t have to stay home to care for sick children as often
d) All of the above