Why Immunizations Matter

January 1, 2017


Joseph W. Thompson, MD, MPH
President & CEO


Arkansas policymakers and parents are asking tough questions about the state’s response to the recent mumps outbreak in Arkansas with more than 2,400 cases under investigation. The mumps outbreak has provoked meaningful discussion about the role of public health agencies in detection and control of infectious diseases. 1 Perhaps more importantly, it has elevated awareness of the critical importance of immunizations. The number of mumps cases has significantly declined since the initiation of the vaccination program in 1967, but outbreaks remind us that viral diseases such as mumps are extremely contagious and can lead to serious complications.

This fact sheet describes paths to immunity, the impact of vaccination programs, and immunization safety, effectiveness, and recommendations.