Because of vaccinations, we no longer see smallpox, and polio has almost been eradicated. No wonder vaccination is considered a modern miracle.
Vaccination is one of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine. No other medical intervention has done more to save lives and improve quality of life.
Smallpox ravaged and killed thousands of people in the 18th century. Once a person had caught it, the disease would kill around a third of victims and leave survivors scarred or blinded.
Thankfully, smallpox was officially wiped out in 1980. If it were still common, it would cause an estimated 2 million deaths every year around the world.
The incurable and deadly disease of polio has also been eradicated from much of the world. Polio, which is caused by a virus that destroys nerve cells, used to threaten millions of people worldwide. At its peak, more than 1,000 children a day were paralyzed by polio globally.
Up to 1 in 1,000 children and 1 in 75 adults who caught the infection were paralyzed – not only in their arms or legs, but also their breathing muscles, which put them at risk of suffocation.
The only way to keep children with polio-induced respiratory problems alive was to put them in a giant metal machine, called an “iron lung”, to help them breathe. Hospital wards with children in iron lungs were common just 50 years ago.
Whooping cough and diphtheria have almost been eliminated in Europe thanks to the success of vaccinations. Compare this to the 1940’s when millions of people suffered this and hundreds of thousands died.
Meningitis C has been virtually eliminated since the men C vaccine was introduced in the UK in 1999. The UK was the first country in the world to offer the jab.
There has been a 99% reduction in cases of meningitis C among those aged under 20 since vaccination started.
All these diseases are now so rare that it’s easy to underestimate the importance of children’s vaccinations.
However, whooping cough and diphtheria are still a threat. The diseases may be rare now, but if children aren’t vaccinated, they can return with a vengeance.
After a scare about the safety of the whooping cough vaccine in the 1970s and 80s, parents stopped vaccinating their children against the disease. This led to 3 epidemics, and at least 100 children died after catching the disease.
Vaccination is a very important part of your child’s health but this is only part of the story. For everyone who is vaccinated there are a lot of other children who will not catch the disease as your child is no longer a carrier.
Help your child and every child by vaccinating.