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Monday, March 6, 2017

The anti-vaccine crowd lacks historic perspective

In many way the success of vaccination programs has lead to apathy and undue skepticism of the necessity of vaccinations. A byproduct of successful vaccination is that new parents may never have seen a case of measles or polio or to have known someone with it. In their perception the disease is no longer "real"--a unicorn effect of sorts. Parents begin to question the value of vaccinating their children which leads to under vaccination and loss of population heard immunity to disease. Loss of herd immunity, by a small percentage not vaccinating, jeopardizes the many. In a way, our societal amnesia regarding the ravages of childhood infections is due to the success of vaccinations. Few recall the times when childhood mortality rate was so high that families purposely had many children hoping that perhaps one or two will survive to adulthood. Few recall survivors who were irreversibly ravaged by their disease such that they were consigned to lead poor quality lives with shortened life spans. Victims of our own success.
from Rajesh Harrykissoon, MD