Thanks to the availability of safe, effective, affordable vaccines, parents today know little of the fear–much less the reality–of deadly childhood diseases. Vaccines are the best value in our healthcare system, but a New York Times medical writer thinks they’re too expensive.
It wasn’t so long ago that epidemics of highly communicable diseases such as diphtheria, measles, polio and whooping cough regularly killed large numbers of American children or left them with permanent disabilities. But thanks to the miracle of vaccines–which are arguably the greatest public health triumph of the 20th century–these devastating epidemics became rare and well contained. Moreover, compared to many other pharmaceuticals, vaccines are cheap, which is why I was astonished to see New York Times reporter and physician Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal caviling about the price of vaccines in a recent article.