"My name is Heather, and I choose to immunize."
We choose to immunize to protect ourselves and our children from preventable diseases and their complications. We also choose to immunize to help protect others around us, especially babies who are too young to be fully vaccinated, children who are unvaccinated, and older adults who may not have as strong an immune system in fighting off infectious diseases. I am old enough to remember how deadly some of these preventable diseases can be, diseases like measles. In the early 1990's, when I was in grade school, the U.S. experienced a large measles outbreak that involved over 55,000 cases, 11,000 hospitalizations, and 120+ deaths (several of these deaths were years after the outbreak, due to a complication called SSPE). Through vaccination programs, measles was eliminated in the U.S. However, areas in which vaccination rates are low are still vulnerable to outbreaks that originate when the disease is brought back into the country. We are part of the community immunity that keeps these outbreaks from spreading.