Did you know there is a Miles City man who created eight of the fourteen vaccines used in vaccine schedules to this day: Maurice Hilleman.

The Father of the measles, mumps, and hepatitis vaccines.

Credit: Laura Newman / National Library of Medicine
Credit: Laura Newman / National Library of Medicine

Maurice Hilleman was born in Miles City, Montana in 1919. According to the book Vaccinated: One Man's Quest to Defeat the World's Deadliest Diseases, Hilleman worked on his family's farm just outside the town, attributing much of his success to working with chickens as a child, because fertilized eggs are used to grow viruses for vaccines.

Hilleman's team is responsible for the creation of more than 40 vaccines including measles, mumps, hepatitis A and B, meningitis, pneumonia, rubella, and the Haemophilus influenzae bacteria. The measles vaccine alone is credited with saving countless lives alone.

Montana born, raised, and educated

Credit: Lorraine Hilleman / National Library of Medicine
Credit: Lorraine Hilleman / National Library of Medicine

Hilleman graduated from the University of Montana after the Great Depression with a Bachelor's Degree in Microbiology and Chemistry, then moved on to the University of Chicago for his graduate education. In 1957, he joined Merck & Company and stayed until his retirement at the age of 65.

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Hilleman passed away on April 11, 2005, at the age of 85 due to cancer. His knowledge and life-saving inventions are remembered even to this day, and as a fellow Montanan, I salute him. We should be proud to call this man one of our own from Big Sky Country.

Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

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