Are you unsure about vaccinating your new child? It can be hard to decide whether or not to take the leap of faith. Chances are you have friends that are both sides of the argument. No matter their opinion, it is clear that the benefits of vaccines lay in the facts.
Vaccines have saved over an estimated six million lives. If there is one modern medical advancement that changed the world, vaccines would be that advancement. Their purpose is simple – defeat infectious diseases that were once common and killed millions.
With all of the anti-vaccine parents out there, it is very easy to question the true benefits. Parents do have to acknowledge that there are potentially dangerous side effects. Children can have allergic reactions to the ingredients. Fevers can spike after receiving a vaccine, potentially leading to a seizure. Deaths from vaccines have occurred, but only in rare circumstances. If we were to look at the numbers, your child would have a higher chance of contracting an infectious disease if vaccines weren’t available.
Let’s take a look at what the numbers have to tell us!
• In 1946, there were 659,843 reported cases of the Measles, just in the United States. Measles fluctuated over the next two decades, typically infecting between 200,000 and 600,000 people each year. In 1963, the first measles vaccines were licensed, and the number dropped to 385,156. Ten years later, by 1973, there were only 26,690 reported cases of the measles!
• Many people fear the return of polio, for good reasons! Polio numbers spiked in 1952 with 57,879 reported cases. In 1955, the very first injectable polio vaccine was licensed, and the numbers dropped to 28,985. By 1960, only 3,190 cases of polio are on record!
• Pertussis strikes fear into the hearts of parents. Young babies are vulnerable to this disease, contracting it from well-meaning family members who never received their booster shots. Unfortunately, pertussis cases are on the rise recently, potentially due to the anti-vaccine movement. In 1947, the United States recorded 156,517 cases. The government released the vaccine in 1949. Over the years, the cases dwindled to a mere 1,248 cases in 1981. However, doctors documented 32,971 in 2014.
• Let’s take a look at Rubella. Typically, a child receives a triple vaccine called MMR – Measles, Mumps and Rubella. The government documented 46,975 cases in 1966. In 1969, the numbers soared to 57,686, and the CDC released the first rubella vaccine. Each year, rubella cases further descended, with only six reported cases in 2014!
• If you grew up in the 1980s, you likely experienced chicken pox. Red bumps covered your skin, itching for days. Staying home from school was a bonus. Death from chicken pox is rare, but there are some documented cases. In 1984, over 221,983 people contracted chicken pox; that is a lot of red bumps! In 1995, the government licensed and encouraged the chicken pox vaccine, with over 120,624 cases that year. Parents haven’t been as receptive to this vaccine because many survived cases as a child. However, in 2014, doctors only reported 10,172 cases.
The truth is in the numbers. After the introduction of every vaccine, each disease declined throughout the following years. In the last few years, when more children than ever before are not receiving vaccines, larger numbers of pertussis and measles occurred. It is without a doubt; vaccines do more medical good than harm.