Vaccines are one of the best methods of preventing diseases and epidemics—they are one of the greatest advancements in modern medicine. Such is my view; and I have written many blog posts supporting and defending this idea. I have no doubt on the efficacy of vaccines, and advocate vigorously for it. [see here, here & here]
This NOVA documentary (“Vaccines—Calling the Shots”) on PBS-TV, originally aired on September 10, 2014 and rebroadcast on August 26, 2015, shows why some diseases, like measles, which were thought eradicated in western nations, have returned. This has to do with lowering vaccination rates, led by parents, both secular and religious (the anti-vaccine movement, or anti-vaxxers), who are suspicious of the science supporting the efficacy of vaccines. Often it is a result of lack of information, or of listening to the wrong information.
The consequences of not vaccinating children, according to schedule, are here discussed. Many are debilitating, if not deadly. It is bad enough that such an ill-informed decision on the part of a parent affects his or her children, it is made worse in that it affects others. An unvaccinated child helps spread the disease to others. If you want first-hand information on what life was like before vaccines, ask an older person (born before 1950) about polio, pertussis (whopping cough) and measles. I was (fortunately) born in 1957, and remember the stories my mother had told me, particularly about polio.
1. On Vaccines: A Matter of Life(http://perryjgreenbaum.blogspot.ca/2011/02/on-vaccines-matter-of-life.html)
2. Informed Parents: Making Good Choices(http://perryjgreenbaum.blogspot.ca/2011/03/informed-parents-making-good-choices.html)
3. The Measles Vaccine Has An Added Benefit