Data Points, February 2008

Ounces of Prevention

Vaccines may not be the moneymakers that drug firms like, but they have transformed U.S. health. A study looking at the prevaccine and postvaccine eras finds that of 13 childhood vaccinations, nine showed at least a 90 percent decline in death and in hospitalization rates. Today's nonimmunized child typically comes from a wellto-do family granted religious or philosophical exemptions, rather than from a poor family lacking insurance, as was the case in the past.

Vaccines approved before 1980 prevent diphtheria, measles, mumps, pertussis, poliomyelitis, rubella, smallpox and tetanus; vaccines approved since then target hepatitis A, acute hepatitis B, Hemophilus influenzae b (Hib), Streptococcus pneumoniae and varicella (chicken pox).

Annual average number of disease cases in prevaccine era for vaccinations recommended before 1980 (covering eight diseases): 1,027,958

Annual average number of cases in postvaccine era: 22,324

Annual average number of cases in prevaccine era for vaccinations first recommended after 1980 (covering five diseases): 4,351,752

Annual average number of cases in postvaccine era: 682,835

Estimated annual deaths from all 13 diseases in: Prevaccine era: 18,412

Postvaccine era: 4,970

Postvaccine era, excluding strep: 120

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, November 14, 2007

This article was originally published with the title "Ounces of Prevention."

or subscribe to access other articles from the February 2008 publication.
Digital Issue $7.99
Digital Issue + All Access Subscription $99.99 Subscribe
Share this Article:


You must sign in or register as a member to submit a comment.

The perfect movie companion to
Jurassic World

Add promo-code: Jurassic
to your cart and get this digital issue for just $7.99!

Hurry this sale ends soon >


Email this Article