"Vaccines have been hailed as one of the most important public health advances in human history. Vaccines save lives by preventing the transmission and consequences of infectious diseases, and are unique among medical products in that they protect health at both the individual and the community level. Thus, vaccines are not only the model of prevention, but also best represent the convergence of medicine and public health. During the 20th century, the life span of Americans increased by more than 30 years in part because of the use of vaccines, and mortality from infectious diseases in the United States has been reduced 14-fold through the use of vaccines. Children born in the United States today are routinely protected against 17 serious diseases and conditions through immunization. The benefits of this routine preventive care are astonishing: for each birth cohort vaccinated using the routine immunization schedule, approximately 33,000 lives are saved, 14 million cases of disease are prevented, $9.9 billion in direct health care costs savings are achieved, and $33.4 billion are saved in indirect health care costs.The initial National Vaccine Plan was created in 1994 to provide a strategic approach for maximizing the impact of vaccines on the health of United States (U.S.) populations. In 2010, the National Vaccine Plan was updated to reflect the priorities, opportunities, and challenges of today's science and our national immunization program, and it provides a guiding vision for vaccines and immunization in the United States for the decade 2010-2020."
United States. Dept. of Health and Human Services: http://www.hhs.gov/