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Commemorative stamp issued to mark 40th anniversary of smallpox eradication
May / June 2020 | Volume 19, Number 3
On May 8, 1980, the 33rd World Health Assembly officially declared, “The world and all its peoples have won freedom from smallpox.” The announcement marked the end of a disease that had plagued humanity for at least 3,000 years, killing 300 million people in the 20th century alone.
It was ended through a 10-year global effort, spearheaded by the WHO, that involved thousands of health workers around the world who administered half a billion vaccinations to stamp out smallpox. To mark the 40th anniversary of eradication, the UN and WHO have unveiled a commemorative stamp.
At its launch, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “As the world confronts the COVID-19 pandemic, humanity’s victory over smallpox is a reminder of what is possible when nations come together to fight a common health threat.”
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