S D Med 2013 ;Spec no:10-6
Sanford School of Medicine, University of South Dakota, Sioux Falls, USA.
The case for vaccines is one which has been made through scientific advancement and public health implementation, resulting in one of the most significant historical achievements for mankind. This includes the elimination of endemic smallpox, polio, measles and rubella from the U.S. This exhilarating accomplishment was sobered with the threat of smallpox through biological attack following September 11, 2001. While the unthinkable return of that vaccine-preventable disease never materialized, other vaccine-preventable disease, such as pertussis, have markedly increased in many states because of never-established or waning immunity. Drivers of these current threats come both from the anti-vaccine movement, through legislative efforts to expand childhood immunization exemptions and the medical establishment itself through lack of immunization prioritization in adolescent and adult populations. Therefore, the case for vaccines needs to be made both externally and internally through sound science, sound logic and sound ethics. Most powerfully, however, the case for vaccines is told through stories of real people who have suffered or died from these preventable diseases.
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