Health Advice



Do you really know what measles, rubella and polio are?

By Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. on

If you got 100 people together (wearing masks) and asked them to explain exactly what measles, rubella and polio are, almost no one under the age of 60 to 70 would have much of an idea. The measles vaccine came in 1963, rubella in 1969 and the polio vaccine in 1955.

Since 2008, there have only been 3,469 cases of measles in this country -- 1,282 were in 2019.

But prior to the vaccine? Three to 4 million people (mostly kids) in the U.S. were infected annually; 400 to 500 people died; 48,000 were hospitalized. For polio? In the late 1940s, an average of over 35,000 people were disabled by polio annually. Parents were frightened to let their children go outside. Travel and commerce between affected cities were sometimes restricted (sound familiar?). But thanks to vaccination, polio hasn't been seen in the U.S. since 1979. And rubella is scarce -- with 10 cases a year reported these days (in 1963-1964, there were 12.5 million cases in the U.S.).

We mention all this to remind you of how remarkable vaccines are: lifesaving and life-changing.

A vaccination rate of 93% to 95% is needed to keep measles (and many other diseases) at bay. Unfortunately, a recent survey found that only 71% of U.S. parents felt the measles vaccine was "absolutely necessary." Let's not lose ground that we've gained through extensive childhood vaccination programs ... and let's extend it. New data shows ever-younger children -- and society -- have much greater benefits than risks from the COVID-19 vaccines.



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of "What to Eat When" and its companion cookbook.

(c)2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2021 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.



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