Doctors recommend vaccines during childhood because they’re an incredibly effective way to prevent dangerous diseases and their potentially long-term effects. Right now there are 14 diseases that kids can be protected from through vaccination. Vaccines are also the reason why some serious diseases, like smallpox, have been completely wiped out worldwide.
Vaccines have literally transformed the landscape of medicine over the course of recent history, beginning in the 20th century. Before vaccines, parents in the United States could expect that every year:
- Polio would paralyze 10,000 children.
- Rubella (German measles) would cause birth defects and mental retardation in as many as 20,000 newborns.
- Measles would infect about 4 million children, and kill 3,000.
- Diphtheria would be one of the most common causes of death in school‐aged children.
- A bacterium called Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) would cause meningitis in 15,000 children, leaving many with permanent brain damage.
- Pertussis (whooping cough) would kill thousands of infants.
The chart linked below shows the percentage decrease of infection from vaccine-preventable diseases in the U.S.