Too often we hear in the debate on vaccination only about either very negative side effects or how many people have been protected from horrible diseases due to vaccinations. Apart from all the crazies that based on one refuted article state that vaccinations can cause autism. It is not often enough that we get the stories of people dealing with health related problems or conditions due to some of these diseases.
Lot of people suffer for example from brain damage caused by Meningitis.. Meningitis is not some minor disease but can quickly cause death to the affected person even within hours. It is basically impossible for most people to understand how it is for parents to watch their kid suffer knowing that it might have to bury their kid, deal with long term effects of the disease and still hoping for a full recovery. I am one of those kids. A kid that got Meningitis at the age of 9 and was left with a scar on my brain. Few years later I was diagnosed with a very mild version of epilepsy and I am one of the lucky ones with just a very mild brain damage and only resulting in epilepsy. I have been able to live a full life, receive advanced education and having enjoyed a good professional life. If I had been vaccinated as is available now but was not available when I was a kid, probably nothing of this would have taken place. My parents would not have suffered the fear of loosing me and I would not have to deal with a life long epilepsy. One of the many conditions that has extensive stigma associated with it in addition to restrictions to live with it. I and my parents are nothing unique, except to us and our family and friends, but an example of what a vaccination could have saved.
When people talk about the side effects of vaccinations then it makes me angry as I know what the side effects of not having had access to vaccinations mean for the life of the individual that survive the disease the vaccinations would have prevented but have to live with the long term effects. Thankfully most people who have survived these diseases have no long term effects but there are enough of us to make the case clear that minor side effects can never be a reason to not vaccinate your kid when taking into consideration what not vaccinate your kid might cause to his/her life. In addition there is the overall impact on society and vaccinations only work to combat diseases when the whole society or almost the whole society is vaccinated.