U.S. Vaccination Program Spares Millions from Disease

Vaccinations will prevent more than 21 million hospitalizations and 732,000 deaths among children born in the last 20 years. Despite the success of the U.S. immunization program, 129 people have had measles this year in 13 outbreaks, according to officials for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The recent measles outbreaks underscore the importance of sustaining high vaccination coverage, a CDC news release states. Last year, 189 Americans had measles. In 2011, 220 people had measles – the highest number of annual cases since 1996.

“Thanks to the (Vaccinations for Children) program, children in our country are no longer at significant risk from diseases that once killed thousands each year,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “Current outbreaks of measles in the U.S. serve as a reminder that these diseases are only a plane ride away. Borders can’t stop measles, but vaccination can.”

The CDC reports that 34 people, among the 129 cases reported this year, brought measles into the U.S. after being infected in other countries. Most people who have reported having measles this year were not vaccinated or did not know whether they had been vaccinated.

Measles, a highly contagious disease, can spread quickly among people who are not vaccinated. CDC officials recommend two doses of MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine for everyone starting at age 12 months. Infants 6 through 11 months old should receive one dose of MMR vaccine before international travel.

Thanks to the U.S. immunization program, hospitalizations avoided and lives spared will save nearly $295 billion in direct costs and $1.38 trillion in total societal costs, according to the CDC.

+ Are you up to date on your vaccinations? Learn more about the importance of immunizations.

+ Have you had your annual check up this year? Find a doctor or specialist with Bon Secours Hampton Roads Health System.

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