A BOOK written 30 years ago about smallpox vaccinations has been translated into Japanese in an attempt to stop Covid-19 deaths in Asia.

The book, titled The Planned Miracle, was written by scientist and historian June Goodfield in 1991.

More than 30 years after its release, the book, chronicling the world’s collaborative attempt to eradicate smallpox through vaccination, has been translated into Japanese.

The 94-year-old, from Alfriston, said the reason behind the recent translation and re-sale was to encourage Asia to get vaccinated against Covid by showing how successful vaccination can be.

“What led me to writing about the challenges of vaccination in the poorer countries was that in the early 1980s, I realised that two whales stranded in the Arctic were getting more media coverage than thousands of children and babies dying from smallpox – a preventable virus,” she said.

“The amount of children dying was equivalent to one Hiroshima bomb exploding every day, yet incredulously it was barely mentioned.

“I want people to see the lessons learnt all those years ago and how essential it is to be vaccinated. I am just pleased if my book can be of some use.”

The Argus: June Goodfield June Goodfield

Dr Goodfield added: “We are lucky to be living in a country that has an excellent programme to stop deaths from this virus.”

Dr Goodfield was working at the Rockefeller Centre in New York during the major outbreak of the smallpox pandemic in 1986.

She said: “I told my bosses that people in the UK needed to know what was happening about smallpox across the world.

“They called my bluff. They said the Rockefeller Centre would underwrite me for research and development for four years if I could gather some of the best journalists and take them to the countries struggling to roll out vaccination programmes.

“He really didn’t think I would do it.”

Taking a sabbatical, Dr Goodfield raised her own funds by applying for numerous grants and gathered journalists to get the project off the ground.

She collaborated with UNICEF and the World Health Organisation, which culminated in the writing of The Planned Miracle, which was later made into a TV series on BBC.

Through a vaccination roll-out worldwide, smallpox became the only virus to be eradicated around the world.

Dr Goodfield also appeared on the Terry Wogan Show on BBC to discuss vaccination centres she had encountered on her travels.

She told how while in Turkey she attended a football match and during half time, UNICEF staff ran onto the pitch each carrying a baby - to highlight the need for children to be vaccinated.

Dr Goodfield was the president of the United Nations UK Association from 1986 to 1987.

She is the author of twelve books on contemporary issues in humanities and science, as well as three novels.