Worries about safe manufacture, the effects of additives, and the side effects of vaccines have been subjects of public concern in recent years, but the benefits far outweigh potential costs.
Vaccines have helped transform health and health care around the globe. It's hard to believe that diseases like polio, smallpox, diphtheria, and whooping cough were common ailments within the last century. Today, these diseases are virtually or totally eradicated. This change is largely due the development of vaccines, which give our bodies the tools to fight disease-causing viruses and bacteria more effectively than they can by themselves.
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The CDC has calculated that many millions of additional deaths would be expected each year if we were to stop vaccinating today. The GAVI alliance, a non-profit that works to bring vaccinations to people across the globe, estimates that even today, every 20 seconds one life is lost to vaccine-preventable diseases: this is the equivalent of 1.7 million preventable deaths worldwide each year. Other estimates suggest that this number is much higher, at three million.
Despite their well-documented benefits, vaccines are frequently the subjects of public concern. Worries about safe manufacture, the effects of additives, and vaccines' side effects are some of the concerns that have accompanied vaccines in recent years.
It is possible to weigh the costs or risks of vaccines against the benefits they make possible and come up with a cost-benefit ratio. Considering what vaccines are all about, including how and where they are made and which concerns are legitimate and which appear unfounded yields a cost-benefit calculation that isn't as tricky as you might believe.