When MTV celebrated its 29th birthday this summer, the music video channel had to face facts. Music videos have become super-popular on venues like YouTube and other streaming services, but not so much on MTV anymore. It’s become a victim of its own success.
The same can be said for vaccinations: They’re a victim of their own success. Although they can eradicate many life-destroying diseases, some people still don’t get why vaccines are so important. It seems that facts aren’t convincing, even though they’re impressive: In the U.S. in 1922 there were more than 175,000 cases of diphtheria; in 1998 there was one (the D-TaP vaccine protects against it); in 1968 there were 152,000 cases of mumps; in 1998 there were 606 (MMR protects against them).
Fortunately, researchers recently have found that when you show folks pictures of and interviews with people who have endured lifelong pain and suffering from diseases like mumps, measles and rubella, it convinces even the most skeptical of vaccination’s virtues.
Here’s one convincing tale: In 1882, Kate and Arthur Keller discovered that their previously healthy 19-month-old daughter Helen was suddenly deaf and blind. That followed an illness that the American Foundation for the Blind says might well have been scarlet fever, or rubella. So if someone tells you that they aren’t going to have their child vaccinated against HPV or measles, ask them to watch “The Miracle Worker.” Seeing a young family deal with the carnage of a disease that’s preventable today might save a life.
© 2015 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.