The biggest benefit that is drawn from vaccination is not what it cures, but what it prevents. Prevention is everything: it precludes a healthy, safe, and worry-free society that can interact and work together without fear of having their lives change dramatically or temporarily as a result of disease.
According to the National Institute of Health, the biggest benefit from vaccines, aside from the prevention of illness is the overall savings that such prevention brings
for every dollar spent, the vaccination program saved more than $5 in direct costs and approximately $11 in additional costs to society. (NIH, 2010)
Moreover, vaccination of herds and other types of cattle will save-guard any type of endemic or pandemic within the farming industry, saving farmers, consumers, and marketers untold amounts of money that would have been completely wasted in the event of a recall.
F. Zhou et. al. (2005) note that 1989 recorded the lowest measles vaccination rate in the United States. As a result, a huge outbreak of this illness ensued, causing over "55,000 infections" and a death rate of 136. The saddest part is that this was a 100% preventable situation that caused havoc and social financial cost. It also caused panic and the need to move educators, the medical field, epidemiologists, and public health officials to start campaigns basically begging people to get their vaccines.
The recent statistics on vaccination reported by the Colorado Children Immunization Coalition (2013) show that the decrease in infection rates has hit the 99th percentile in illnesses such as:
- diphtheria - 100%
- measles - 99.9%
- smallpox- 100%
- mumps- 95.7%
- polio- 100%
Soldiers greatly benefit from early vaccination protocols as well as researchers who enter danger zones, or wild areas where exposure to new and exotic bacteria will undoubtedly end in severe infection and even death. Again, deaths caused by lack of vaccination, the expense of curing the illness, and the life-changing events that come as a result of exposure to rare illnesses or illnesses that are common are, in many cases, 100% preventable.
Moreover, vaccination is the safest way to activate our body's own defense mechanisms in a way that it will not ruin other organs in our body. For example, polio can take away our ability to walk and move freely. If taken, the polio vaccine will allow for our bodies to produce the antibodies needed to fight any exposure to infection. Imagine not taking the vaccination at all and becoming exposed? It would weigh heavily on the individual, their families, those who are close and worth with the individual, and the community, as a whole, now becomes the potential target of a very dangerous condition.
Therefore, prevention helps humans and animals alike to stay healthy and be able to carry on with their lives withouth having to halt events or completely change the course of things for the sake of having to cure, or fight to survive, preventable diseases.
F Zhou et al. Economic Evaluation of the 7-Vaccine Routine Childhood Immunization Schedule in the United States , 2001. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med.159(12):1136-44 (2005).