Before immunizations, hundreds of thousands of cases of whooping cough, polio, measles, and rubella occurred in the US every year resulting in severe illness or death. Thanks to vaccines some diseases have almost disappeared in the US, so why do we need to keep immunizing? The World Health Organization estimates that 2-3 million deaths are prevented annually by vaccines and these diseases have become extremely rare, but they have not been eradicated completely. Without immunizations, the few cases that occur would cause the spread of the disease to others and more and more people would become infected. In the words of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “we will undo the progress we have made over the years.”
Who needs to get vaccinated? Well, everyone! We know that children have a recommended immunization schedule. But there is a misconception that once children receive their immunizations, they’re set for life. Adults need continued vaccinations because some vaccines are only recommended for adults, protection from certain childhood vaccinations can wear off over time, newer vaccines may now be available that did not exist previously, or some viruses such as flu can change over time. Vaccines become especially important for adults age 65 and older due to weakened immune systems. Check out https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/schedules/index.html for information on recommended immunization schedules and always talk to your doctor before seeking any medical care.