Vaccines have been compared with safety belts and airbags in cars. Let us investigate why that is.
Everyone who drives a car today, at least a car built after 1998, is driving with an added layer of protection between them and severe injury or death: frontal collision airbags. In fact, airbags were so effective at preventing driver fatalities in frontal crashes that between 1998 and 2017 nearly 51,000 lives have been saved during collisions according to the National Center for Statistics and Analysis (2020). Not only did fatalities drop by nearly 30% after 1998, but fatalities of front seat passengers aged 13 and over were reduced by a third! But do we give much thought to the engineering and manufacture of airbags? Most of us do not even think about them. Until we are in an accident.
Insurance companies found that airbags reduced severe injury and fatalities so well, they helped to bring about the additional airbag placements including side-impact and even curtain-airbags to help protect from head and neck injuries (Winston et al., 2006).
And while there are some who argue against the necessity of airbags, the data does not support their arguments. Airbags are a complicated process designed for one reason: to reduce injuries and save lives. The data is clear. Passengers are much safer with modern airbags.
Vaccines are even better at saving lives, and they protect the most precious members of our families, our children. And while airbags have helped save tens of thousands of people from severe injury or death, childhood vaccines have saved over 200,000,000 (two hundred million) children from death since 1962 (Olshansky & Hayflick, 2017). Just as most of us give little thought to airbags and how they protect us, those of us born before childhood vaccines remember well measles, mumps, chickenpox, or diphtheria. Ask your parents or grandparents about their family members and friends who died from infectious diseases in childhood.
From UPMC Healthbeat
As parents, we want to be absolutely certain we are doing the best we can for our children. That is our job. Just as it is the job of epidemiologists and physicians to know what is best for children to avoid sickness and death from preventable diseases. As parents, we need to get off the fence. One way to get off the fence is to learn how vaccines work and why they are so effective.
For more information of childhood vaccines:
Vaccines and vaccine schedules.
From the American Association of Pediatrics:
National Center for Statics and Analysis (2020). Statistics. From https://www.nhtsa.gov/research-data/national-center-statistics-and-analysis-ncsa
Olshansky, S. J., & Hayflick, L. (2017). The role of the WI-38 cell strain in saving lives and reducing morbidity. AIMS public health, 4(2), 127.
Winston, C., Maheshri, V., & Mannering, F. (2006). An exploration of the offset hypothesis using disaggregate data: The case of airbags and antilock brakes. Journal of Risk and Uncertainty, 32(2), 83-99.