Diseases like polio, rubella, mumps and measles were once common in the United States and they caused disability and death of thousands of people each year. Vaccines are one of the greatest public health achievements in the last 100 years and have led to an enormous reduction in illnesses and deaths caused by infectious diseases.
However, diseases such as measles are now back with a vengeance, mostly due to lower numbers of people getting properly immunized. More than 1,000 people in 28 states have been infected by measles this year alone. In 2017, 80 people in Minnesota were infected by measles. An ongoing measles outbreak in Europe has sickened more than 160,000 and led to over 100 fatalities. The Minnesota Department of Health predicts that another outbreak could occur.
Diseases like measles can lead to serious and sometimes fatal complications. Vaccines are the safest and most effective way to protect children from these dangerous diseases.
Vaccinating your child also protects other children with whom they interact. Some schools in Minnesota have measles immunization rates well below 50 percent. By vaccinating your child, you are not only protecting your own child’s health, but also the health of their classmates, friends and the entire community.
Physicians in the Minnesota Medical Association want to emphasize how important it is to ensure that children are up to date on all recommended vaccinations, especially as they return to school. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your pediatrician or family physician.
Together, we can protect our community from the spread of dangerous diseases.