Remembering vaccines champion Dr. Ciro de Quadros

Before I came to ONE, I spent a few years working at the Sabin Vaccine Institute.  While there, I was lucky enough to cross paths with a number of luminaries in the public health space, including Dr. Ciro de Quadros, Sabin’s Executive Vice President.

Ciro was one of those unique people whose reputation precedes them—long before I met Ciro in person, I knew all about him.  It seemed like everywhere you went in the health world, someone had a reverent story to tell about how they, too, had had the good fortune to work with Ciro.

And indeed, a quick skim of his biography and his accolades will tell you why.

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Dr. Ciro de Quadros, center, as a young epidemiologist in Ethiopia in 1971. Photo credit

He’s the man known for pioneering bold approaches for vaccine delivery at the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO); for eradicating polio and measles from Latin America, often under challenging and even war-torn circumstances; for relentlessly seeking to ensure no child was missed in immunization drives; and for providing consistent, passionate leadership to the global vaccines community for decades. 

Just this year, he had been named a “Public Health Hero”—PAHO’s highest honor. But I also knew him as a kind and generous mentor to younger staff, and someone with great integrity (and a great smile, to boot).

When Ciro passed away last week, the vaccines world lost a humble giant. He will be missed, but his legacy will live on, reflected in so many children and families who can live healthier lives free of vaccine-preventable diseases.

To learn more about Ciro’s work, and to leave a tribute of your own, visit this in memoriam page set up by our friends at Sabin.