In some ways, the effectiveness of vaccines has become a problem. Today, you almost never hear of children dying from diseases such as smallpox, polio, measles, mumps, pertussis, etc. It still happens (See “Individuals Who Have Suffered and Even Died Because They Were Not Vaccinated”), but it is rare. Why is it rare? Because vaccines have virtually eliminated such diseases! As a result, people tend to think that these diseases are “a thing of the past” and thus connect them with an age where sanitation and medical practices were poor. In fact, many anti-vaccination advocates make the specific claim that vaccines are not responsible for the decline in these diseases1.
This lie can be refuted in many different ways. If you look at our article entitled “Vaccines are Incredibly Effective at Preventing Disease,” you will find two graphs that clearly show that the declines in polio and measles are directly correlated with the licensure of the vaccines for those diseases. In addition, you will find a discussion of the many detailed, controlled experiments that show that those who are vaccinated are significantly less likely to be infected than those who are not.
Another way to refute the lie is to see what happens when vaccination rates decrease. You can find a discussion of that in our article entitled, “Small Decision, Large Impact: Why Not Vaccinating Your Child Is Dangerous”
Of course, the best way to refute the lie is to simply discuss the histories of the diseases that vaccines have conquered. Below, you will find links to a discussion of the history of smallpox and a discussion of the history of polio. Those histories clearly show how important the vaccine was in the destruction of these terrible diseases.
Dr. Wile and Erica A. Sommerville are not medical doctors. Dr. Wile is a nuclear chemist, and Miss Sommerville is a college student. As a result, they do not dispense medical advice. They simply educate the public about scientific issues. Please consult a board-certified medical doctor before making any medical decisions for yourself or your family.