Is There Still a Risk?
Educating yourself about the risks of the vaccine-preventable diseases themselves can help to make the potential vaccine side effects seem far less threatening. Out of sight has meant out of mind for many twenty-first century parents when it comes to the vaccine-preventable diseases, which to date include polio, measles, mumps, rubella, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis, some types of pneumonia and meningitis, and even chicken pox. Most of today's young doctors and parents alike haven't had to encounter the sometimes devastating effects of these diseases.
The reality is, however, that as late as the 1950s parents lived in fear of polio and its ability to cause paralysis and death, a type of bacteria known as Haemophilus influenza was a common and dreaded cause of meningitis (an infection involving the lining of the brain) up until the 1990s when the Hib vaccine was made available, and without the vaccine for diphtheria, it would once again rank as one of the most common causes of death for school-aged children.