Sorry Anti-Vaxxers, But According To The CDC Almost A Million Kids Wouldn’t Be Here Without Vaccines

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Jenny McCarthy is not a doctorAttention anti-vaxxers! You might want to close your ears, because I don’t think your confirmation bias will be able to handle this next little tidbit of information. According to a new report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, vaccinations have saved more than 732,000 children’s lives since 1994. In addition to that, another 322 million instances of sickness have been avoided in children through inoculation. Can I get a BOOYA?!

During the study period about 79 million U.S. children were born and each of them was saved from an average of four infectious diseases (whooping cough, measles, rubella, etc.) According to CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, these numbers show that our nation’s immunization programs have been working and that hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved. The Center for Disease Control estimates that vaccination rates rose to as high as 90 percent since the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program was implemented in 1994, and that it has prevented more than 21 million hospitalizations. This prevention has saved the U.S. a cool $295 billion buck-a-roonies in direct costs. That could buy A LOT of tickets to the next Jenny McCarthy flop.

For those of you who don’t remember, the federally funded VFC program was created in response to an outbreak of measles cases in the late 80’s and early 90’s. That particular outbreak involved 55,000 cases and was chiefly blamed on low vaccination rates among the uninsured. Before the VFC program was put in place, the vaccination rate varied from only 50 percent in the late 60’s to around 80 percent in the 80’s. According to Frieden:

“While the VFC was implemented to help people who had a financial need, in fact it has benefited everyone, because when vaccination rates go up, we are all safer.”

The difference between today’s influx of measles and the 1980’s outbreak is that nowadays people are choosing not to vaccinate, even when they have insurance. Many anti-vaxxers cite unreliable pseudoscience as their reasoning, but some use the mind-boggling excuse of “everyone else vaccinates, so I’m safe.” Except that’s total bullshit. Frieden sums it up eloquently:

“Current outbreaks of measles in the U.S. serve as a reminder that these diseases are only a plane ride away,” he said. “Borders can’t stop measles, but vaccination can.”

The writing is on the wall folks. Vaccinations work. They’ve saved almost a million lives since 94 in the U.S. alone and probably millions more before that. With the programs we have in place now, there is only one reason for not vaccinating your kids (beside cultural and religious reasons, of course). Purposeful ignorance.