National Library of Medicine

Digital Gallery


The NIH Division of Biologics Standards (DBS) licensed the rubella vaccine for use in June 1969. Explore this selection of items from the NLM Digital Collections to discover how scientists working at the DBS set policy, conducted research, and enforced standards to ensure the safety of vaccines.

A picture of one woman and three men in a lab

“Rubella Research,” photograph by Jerry Hecht, Bethesda, Maryland, ca. 1970

Courtesy National Library of Medicine

Dr. Harry M. Meyer, Jr. (1928–2001), left, Hope Hopps (1926–1988), center, and Dr. Paul Parkman (b. 1932), right, worked with the rubella antigen in the National Institutes of Health’s Division of Biologics Standards. The researchers were motivated by their knowledge that rubella posed the greatest risk to young, growing families, and that women exposed to rubella were forced to make difficult decisions about their pregnancies. Their research improved the blood test used to screen pregnant women for rubella. Thanks to their work, women only had to wait three hours, instead of three weeks, for results.