So, perhaps some of you have seen the discussions on whether or not the US should destroy its stores of the small pox vaccine. It was just decided that they'll avoid doing anything for another three years.
It got me to thinking... I had the smallpox vaccine as I was born before it was eradictated. The disease (well, variola major) killed 30-35% of people who were infected. That's a pretty serious disease---and a pretty serious mortality rate.
For those who object to vaccinations, if smallpox still existed.. with such a high mortality rate... would you vaccinate your child against the disease? I realize that many of the diseases we vaccinate against today do not have similar mortality rates, and that's part of people's objections to vaccinating against them. But even if you don't vax currently, would you consider it against something as deadly as smallpox? Note: the smallpox vaccine was a live vaccine, if that matters. Back in the 18th century, the Turkish method of variolation had about a 1 in 1000 mortality rate--much lower than the 30-35% mortality rate. I don't know what the death rate was from the "modern" vaccine, but I'm assuming it was no greater--most likely less. Even in the 20th century, there were 300 million deaths from smallpox.