by Lauren Mandel
In 1955, a vaccine for polio was introduced, and the United States has been polio-free since 1979. Smallpox was eradicated in the United States in 1972, though enough vaccine exists to vaccinate every American if needed. Today, it’s hard to imagine having to worry about either of these diseases recurring.
However, many people thought the same thing about measles. That is until the first confirmed measles death in over 12 years happened in August 2015. What could have potentially prevented this death and any others? The measles vaccine.
While there have been a number of impressive immunization breakthroughs in the past few years, the world still has a ways to go to “Close the Immunization Gap,” a goal set by the World Health Organization for this year’s World Immunization Week.
While vaccinating is a personal choice, it’s important to learn all the facts before making your final decision. Immunization helps avoid up to 3 million deaths every year, but an additional 1.5 million deaths could be prevented if immunization coverage was more widespread and understood.
Nearly 1 in 5 children worldwide are still missing routine immunizations for diseases like tetanus and pertussis. If you’re concerned about how vaccines will affect your children’s safety, it’s important to note the CDC has confirmed on multiple occasions that there are no links between vaccinations and autism.
How can you learn more this week and in the future? Visit the World Health Organization’s World Immunization Week website for more information.
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