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How Vaccines Have Become Victims of Their Own Success


It was late afternoon on a Friday when I got the call that there was a 5-year-old child with pneumococcal meningitis in the emergency room that needed to be admitted to the hospital. It was the first case like this that I had seen in many years. Meningitis is an infection of the covering of the brain and spinal cord, and pneumococcus is one of the bacteria that commonly caused meningitis in children before we started immunizing them with the pneumococcal vaccine in 2000.

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