I was hoping someone could help me out. I'm having a "friendly discussion" with a friend of mine regarding vaccines and he is picking at every little thing I say trying to prove that I'm an idiot for choosing not to vaccinate. One of my arguments was that many of these diseases, like pertussis, were steadily declining well before the vaccine. He came back to me with "What about measles? If you look at the census reports you will see that it was pretty much the same until the vaccine arrived, when it dropped dramatically." My question is, would the census be a completely accurate account of confirmed cases of disease? Is there anything else that might say differently? Also, I know for a fact that the measles death rate dropped dramatically prior to the vaccine, so why would the number of cases remain the same while the death rate takes such a plummet?