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A healthy respect for vaccine-preventable diseases

A hero's welcome for vaccines

Too frequently we hear dangerous disinformation like the diseases that vaccines prevent aren’t that serious. So we think it’s to take a moment to provide some numbers to disabuse people of this dangerous myth.

Here are the facts:

  • Vaccines prevent 4-5 million deaths every year! That means that vaccines save a population equivalent to all of Los Angeles. EVERY. YEAR. (source: WHO)
  • Vaccines helped reduce measles deaths worldwide by 78% in just 8 years (2000-2008). (source:
  • Rotavirus and pneumonia kill almost 1.2 million children under 5 every year. Most of these deaths could be prevented if certain vaccines were available to all children. (source: UNICEF)
  • 1 woman dies every 2 minutes from cervical cancer, yet we have a vaccine that prevents it. (source: GAVI)
  • Rubella is the leading vaccine-preventable cause of birth defects. Every year 100,000 children are born with severe birth defects that could have been prevented by the rubella vaccine. (source: PLOS ONE 2016)
Olivia Dahl

“Are you feeling all right,” I asked her.

“I feel sleepy,” she said.

An hour later she was unconscious. Twelve hours later she was dead.

Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach, on the last conversation he had with his daughter Olivia who died at 7 from measles.

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