The impact of vaccines
Vaccines have been one of the most effective public health safety measures. They are responsible for drastically reducing and, in some cases, eradicating dangerous infectious diseases. It’s been found that vaccination of each U.S. birth cohort with the current childhood immunization schedule prevents approximately 42,000 deaths and 20 million cases of disease in the United States. Yet, in addition to saving lives and improving the quality of life, immunizations provide significant economic benefits. According to an extensive cost-benefit analysis by the CDC, every dollar spent on vaccination saves over $5 in direct costs and approximately $11 in additional costs to society.
Protecting the community
History has shown us that when immunization rates are high and vaccine-preventable diseases are no longer common, people begin to forget about the dangers of these diseases and some start to question the necessity of vaccination. When this occurs, immunization rates drop, jeopardizing our hard earned community immunity and allowing diseases that were once prevented to return. Recent outbreaks of diseases, such as measles and pertussis, in other states are due to decreases in immunization rates and pockets of unimmunized individuals. Immunization rates must stay high in order to maintain community immunity and prevent vaccine-preventable diseases.
Thus, the West Virginia Immunization Network is committed to working with public and private policy makers in West Virginia to create an environment that ensures high immunization rates in order to protect our citizens from vaccine-preventable disease.
Check out the Vaccine-Preventable Outbreak map below, which was developed by the Council on Foreign Relations. This map reflects the international outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases since 2008. (Best viewed with Firefox, Safari, and Google Chrome.)