Why vaccines?

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends vaccines for a wide variety of diseases. Some of them, like flu and chickenpox (varicella), are pretty common. You may have heard of others – like meningitis, tetanus, and hepatitis.

But what about all these others? Hib? Measles, mumps, rubella? Polio? Whooping cough? Why bother vaccinating against rare diseases that we barely hear of? Well – these diseases are unfamiliar because they’re uncommon – and they’re uncommon because of vaccines.

All of these diseases used to routinely make people very sick, and even kill people – especially children. When scientists developed vaccines for these diseases, we were able to save lives. Look at what has happened over the past hundred years.

Vaccines save lives

So if the diseases are gone, why bother continuing to vaccinate? Well, vaccines are still important, even if the diseases aren’t around. You don’t throw away your umbrella in a rainstorm just because you’re not getting wet: vaccines keep the diseases away.

In the past few decades, people have deliberately spread misinformation about vaccines. This has lead well-meaning people to question vaccines, because they want what is best for their children. This has lead to declining vaccination rates in some places – and these places have had disease outbreaks.

The lesson is clear: vaccines save lives.