Vaccines prevent death! 14 serious illnesses can be prevented by Baby Shots, and many of these are required to start school in South Dakota. Vaccines are responsible for the control of polio, measles, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough), rubella (German measles), mumps, tetanus, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib). Before vaccines existed, these germs would cause severe illness or death.

For example, measles is a virus that usually causes an itchy rash. However other symptoms, such as pneumonia and encephalitis (brain swelling) can be quite serious. Until the measles vaccine was developed in the 1960’s, 3 – 4 million people in the United States caught measles each year, with 500 deaths. After widespread childhood vaccination (which is mandatory to attend school), measles almost disappeared. In 2000, measles was considered eradicated in the United States. Due to travel to other countries and under-vaccination of children in the United States, measles has returned! In the first half of 2011, 118 people contracted measles in the United States. In 2019 1,274 individual cases of measles have occurred in the US. In countries around the world that do not vaccinate against it, there are still 134,200 deaths (mostly in young children) each year from measles! (All Data is from United States CDC data, accessed 12/24/22).

Baby Shots also helps to protect the health of the community. 95% of citizens, adults, infants and children need to be vaccinated for the health of the community to be protected. People who are not immunized include those who are too young to be vaccinated (e.g., children less than a year old cannot receive the measles vaccine but can be infected by the measles virus), those who cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons (e.g., children with cancer), and those who cannot make an adequate response to vaccination (immune system is suppressed). Immunization also slows down or stops disease outbreaks. It is important for Your Baby to Get Shots!

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