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Immunization is regarded by many as one of the greatest advances in modern civilization. The widespread use of vaccines has led to increases in life expectancy, reductions in the occurrence of childhood diseases, and is generally credited with saving millions of lives annually. But since their discovery two centuries ago, vaccines have been dogged by pockets of persistent distrust among those who are skeptical of their science or who find compulsory immunization at odds with personal liberty. The rise of these voices in contemporary culture has contributed to trends of vaccine delay and vaccine hesitancy in some communities -- a chasm between the general population and the scientific establishment that has persisted and grown at times across the last several decades.



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