Immunization Plain Talk : Page 4

1. Immunizations Save Lives Immunizations are one of the greatest medical success stories in human history because they have saved millions of lives and prevented illness and lifelong disability in millions more. We can prevent many serious childhood diseases by using vaccines routinely recommended for children. Since the in-troduction of these vaccines, rates of diseases, such as meningitis (caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b), polio, rubella, and diphtheria have declined by 95 to 100 percent. Before we had vaccines, hundreds of thousands of children got infected and thousands died in the U.S. each year from these diseases. Without immunization or low rates of immunization, serious disease outbreaks can recur. The following data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show dramatic declines in diseases that vaccines prevent since routine childhood vaccination began in the U.S. Disease Smallpox Diphtheria Pertussis (whooping cough) Tetanus Polio (paralytic) Measles Mumps Rubella Congenital Rubella Syndrome Haemophilus influenzae (invasive) Number of Cases U.S. Reported Before Vaccine Cases in 2010 2 1 Was Widely Used 29,005 21,053 200,752 580 16,316 530,217 162,344 47,745 152 20,000 0 0 27,550 26 0 63 2,612 5 0 3,151 Percent Decrease 100% 100% 86% 96% 100% > 99% 98% > 99% 100% 84% Immunizations Are Strong Protection Immunization is the single most important way parents can protect their children against serious diseases. The decision to immunize your child is an important one. Consider the following reasons when making your decision. Immunize to: • Prevent common diseases. Some common diseases in the U.S. are also very serious, like whooping cough, flu, and rotavirus. If you decide not to vaccinate, you accept the risk that your baby won’t be protected from serious and sometimes deadly diseases. • Prevent diseases that exist at low levels in the U.S. but could easily come back. Some diseases, like measles and mumps, still occur in our country at low levels. When fewer people get immunized against these diseases, outbreaks can happen. 5

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