Doctor Ulysses Wu, the chief of infectious diseases at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, said there are lot of things out there that can kill us. "Diptheria," he said, "tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, haemophilous influenzae, pneumococus, meningicocus..."
Wu said immunizations against those diseases are one of the greatest advances in medical science known to mankind.
August is National Immunization Awareness Month. "The problem is," Wu said, "we live in a society now, and I hate to put it this way, it's almost that ignorance is bliss. We don't see a lot of diseases that used to wipe out hundreds of thousands of people around the world."
Wu said that's a good thing, but it has a bad side effect. Some people use that as a reason to avoid vaccinations.
"There's three general reasons that people actually don't get their vaccinations," Wu said. "Religious is one of them. Philosophical. Then there's medical. Where we're seeing the disease is in the communities where they're actually refusing the vaccines."
Wu also said that vaccines are generally both safe and effective. "You can get a local reaction," he said. "You can certainly get a cold-like illness, or even a mild flu-like illness from some of these vaccines. Certainly, there are cases of more severe side effects from these vaccines. For the most part, these vaccines are incredibly safe."
As back-to-school season approaches, Wu suggests everybody makes sure their vaccines are up to date.