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Immunizations Save Lives, Increase Economic Productivity

Devex: Opinion: Embrace the facts — not the myths — about vaccines
Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director general for family, women’s, and children’s health, and vice chair of the board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance

“…Immunization is actually one of the most incredible scientific innovations, and has contributed hugely to preventing deaths — mostly of children — and to dramatic rises in life expectancy and economic development. Every $1 invested in immunization returns an estimated $16 in health care savings and increased economic productivity. … [W]e need to push much harder to increase immunization coverage — which has increased by only one percent globally since 2010 — for all vaccine-preventable diseases … There are a number of reasons for this. In some countries, consistent supply and cold storage are persisting challenges. In other cases, vaccines are available but myths around them discourage parents from immunizing their children. We need to bust myths and promote the benefits of immunization more widely. Here are five key facts about immunization. Fact 1: Immunization through vaccination is the safest way to protect against disease. … Fact 2: It is always best to get vaccinated, even when you think the risk of infection is low. … Fact 3: Combined vaccines are safe and beneficial. … Fact 4: There is no link between vaccines and autism. … Fact 5: If we stop vaccination, deadly diseases will return…” (4/26).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.