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Carlos Finlay was born a British citizen in Cuba and attended medical school in Philadelphia (Jefferson Medical College). He correctly postulated mosquitoes as the vector for Yellow Fever despite mockery from his colleagues at the time. In 1900, the American Yellow Fever Commission, led by Walter Reed, tested Finlay's hypothesis. Several USA volunteers died during the clinical trials. Dr. Finlay was proven correct and widespread efforts to eradicate mosquitoes were undertaken.

Yellow Fever remains problematic even today. Through the efforts of Max Theiler, M.D. at the Rockefeller Institute and scientists worldwide, including Cuba, a vaccine was developed. Dr. Theiler won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1951. Today, Cuba is best known for its successful development of an effective vaccine to prevent Type B meningococcal meningitis in 1985. The USA government has made an exception with this vaccine (since the disease occasionally is epidemic in the USA) and is allowing clinical trials that may eventually lead to its use in the USA. Cuba also produces many other vaccines for human and domestic animal use.

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