1. Diseases are becoming rare due to vaccinations.
Some diseases (such as polio and diphtheria) are becoming very rare in the U.S. Of course, they are becoming rare largely because we have been vaccinating against them. But, it is still reasonable to ask whether it’s really worthwhile to keep vaccinating.
It’s much like bailing out a boat with a slow leak. When we started bailing, the boat was filled with water. But, we have been bailing fast and hard, and now it is almost dry. We could say, “Good. The boat is dry now, so we can throw away the bucket and relax.” But the leak hasn’t stopped. Before long, we’d notice a little water seeping in, and soon it might be back up to the same level as when we started.
2. Keep immunizing until disease is eliminated.
Unless we can “stop the leak” (eliminate the disease), it is important to keep immunizing. Even if there are only a few cases of disease today, if we take away the protection given by vaccination, more and more people will be infected and will spread disease to others. Soon we will undo the progress we have made throughout the years.
3. What if we stopped vaccinating?
Diseases that are almost unknown would stage a comeback. Before long, we would see epidemics of diseases that are nearly under control today. More children would get sick and more would die.
4. We vaccinate to protect our future.
We don’t vaccinate just to protect our children. We also vaccinate to protect our grandchildren and their grandchildren. With one disease, smallpox, we “stopped the leak” in the boat by eradicating the disease. Our children don’t have to get smallpox shots anymore because the disease no longer exists.
If we keep vaccinating now, parents in the future may be able to trust that diseases such as polio and meningitis won’t infect, cripple, or kill children. Vaccinations are one of the best ways to put an end to the serious effects of certain diseases. Ask your doctor which vaccinations you or your child should receive at your next routine health care appointment.