Originally Posted by 1069
"Teaching health standards" has nothing to do with preventing the illnesses that childhood immunizations protect children against.
Before immunizations, diseases like pertussis, measles, mumps, rubella, and diphtheria frequently reached epidemic proportions, striking down rich and poor alike. Most of the diseases we immunize against are airborne. They don't discriminate. If it were just a matter of maintaining proper "health standards", then most of us would not need to immunize our children at all, and incur the (admittedly small, but still real) risk that goes along with that.
If proper hygiene would prevent these illnesses, why would any of us subject our children to vaccines, which carry a small risk of side effects, some of them serious?
The fact is, without immunizations, no one is exempt from the danger these illnesses present. You can "teach health standards" until you're blue in the face, and it won't do a bit of good. All the cleanliness and hygiene and sanitation in the world won't protect against these diseases. Only immunization will. Without immunizations, thousands of little ones would die every year of these illnesses, as they did in the past before immunizations existed.
And many adults would become acutely ill as well, and rack up enormous medical bills and miss a lot of work, and some would die, because most adults don't even keep up with their immunization schedules, and are no longer immune to these illnesses. Adults are relatively safe because we immunize all (or nearly all) the children, and so these diseases do not reach epidemic or pandemic proportions any more. Even so, every year 45,000 Americans die from vaccine-preventable diseases, according to the CDC.
So you see, these illnesses are not gone. We have not eradicated them. They are always waiting in the wings. They always will be.