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[Perspectives] Vaccination: a vexatious history

An unanticipated effect of the success of mass immunisation campaigns in western countries, no less than in Asia and the global south, is the more that vaccines have reduced the incidence of formerly deadly childhood diseases, the harder it becomes to convince parents that it is necessary for their own child to be vaccinated. This is particularly the case with a new generation of parents too young to have experienced measles or mumps for themselves, never mind diseases such as polio that cast a shadow over their grandparents’ childhoods.