The “good old days” were not so good.
In the United States life expectancy around 1888 was less than 50 years, and infant mortality approached 200 deaths per 1000 births. That’s 1 in 5 children being buried by Mom and Dad before the age of 5. Death among children came primarily due to various infectious diseases such as diarrhea, diphtheria, scarlet fever and tuberculosis. (statistics from the Journal of Pediatric Research)
The impact of vaccinations and modern medicine has been significant. By 1990, life expectancy in the United States had increased 50% to 75 years. Infant mortality fell an astounding 97% to less than 7 children per 1000 births.
Some folks do not develop immunity as well as others when vaccinated. However, there is a “herd effect” that confers protection because those who are unvaccinated or who have less immunity from a vaccine are surrounded by those who have vaccine acquired immunity. As more members of the “herd” forego vaccines, the herd protection declines and threatens everyone. Infectious processes again have a fertile population to run rampant within.
The human tendency is to examine one’s current circumstances and surroundings and fail to understand that it has not always been the way it is now. Look at your children’s (or grandchildren’s) classrooms, soccer teams, gymnastics classes, playgrounds… and imagine that 1 in 5 of those bright precious faces were suddenly dead. It is modern medicine that has saved us from the face of a horror once common to our grandparents and great-grandparents. Paraphrasing an old TV show, let’s decline to follow the invitation of the anti-vaccine, anti-science folks to: “Return to those thrilling days of yesteryear…
Peace Everyone. Pete
PS: There is an outbreak of measles in the Kansas City area that has experts very concerned. This “childhood” disease killed over 2.5 million people worldwide in 1980. Vaccinations have reduced that number to less than 100,000 by 2014. It only takes an epidemic of blind ignorance to reverse that trend. The following obituary was found tucked within my wife’s family bible.