People have tried to prevent the spread of illnesses before vaccination was a word. In the 15th century, healthy people were intentionally exposed to smallpox to keep it from spreading to others. Once Dr. Edward Jenner created the first successful smallpox vaccine built from a milkmaid with cowpox, the war against deadly viruses became something humans had a chance of winning. Napoleon Bonaparte and President Thomas Jefferson endorsed it in 1806.

What Vaccines Have Come After Smallpox?

Smallpox has been completely eradicated from the face of the planet. Then came vaccinations for rabies, diphtheria, influenza, yellow fever, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, pneumococcal pneumonia, varicella, and human papillomavirus.

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While most vaccines have been very effective, they have not reached the level of coverage that the smallpox vaccine did. Other diseases are still waiting to infect people. Children can be the most susceptible to these diseases. With the high concentration of children in close quarters, it is the best way to spread infections and therefore, the first place to try to prevent them.

How Protected Are Idaho Children from Infection?

More than 10,000 school-age children in Idaho went unvaccinated last year. Regardless of the reasons why, leaving children unvaccinated increases the chance of an outbreak. Breakthrough infections can even happen in children who have been inoculated if their immune system has been compromised.

Clusters of breakthrough infections of measles are being reported in the United States. In just the first few weeks of 2024, there have been more than 20 measles cases in 12 states. Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida have all seen confirmed cases so far. The closest states to Idaho are Arizona and California. Considering viruses don’t pay attention to borderlines, it may just be a matter of time.

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What did the grape say after getting vaccinated? I feel vine.

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