National Library of Medicine

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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.

Title card of a film

Rubella Testing in the Small Hospital Laboratory, Mark-Maris Inc., 1983

Courtesy National Library of Medicine

At the height of the rubella epidemic in 1964, women had to wait up to three weeks for the result of a blood test that could tell them if they had rubella. Thanks to research conducted by Drs. Harry M. Meyer, Jr. (1928–2001) and Paul Parkman (b. 1932) at the NIH, testing for rubella antibodies could be completed in about three hours. Even after the widespread use of the vaccine, many pregnant women required a blood test for rubella antibodies. This film presents information about procedures for conducting a blood test for rubella in the mid-1980s.