Vaccines are one of the most successful public health achievements of the 20th century1–3  and have contributed to improved health and longevity for millions of people in the United States.2–4  Between 1900 and 2000 the average life expectancy in the United States increased by >30 years, from 43.7 to 76.8 years, and infant mortality through 12 months of age decreased from 100 per 1000 population to <7 per 1000 population.2,5  The decrease or elimination of vaccine-preventable infections played a critical role in these population outcomes that have positively influenced the health, growth, and economy of our nation.

An evaluation of the US vaccine program from 1900 to 1998 demonstrated reduction or elimination of many infectious diseases that had resulted in substantial childhood morbidity and mortality, including smallpox, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, and Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib).2...

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