Editorial: A shot in the arm

It's very easy to be critical of government, to break out the cliches like "doing badly that which need not be done at all," and "I'm from the government; I'm here to help," but there are a number of necessary things that government does, does well and probably wouldn't get done if left to someone else.

Vaccinations are a case in point. At the end of April and beginning of May, the Harford County Health Department ran a series of rabies vaccination clinics, and protected several hundred animals, and by extension, as many as several thousand people, from the threat of a deadly disease with a brutal fear factor. For a fee of $5 per pet, animals and families end up with real protection from the infection and peace of mind regarding the horrors associated with the incurable disease. The only thing unfortunate about the program is that more people didn't take advantage of it.

Various government health agencies have similarly been supremely successful in promoting the cause of being disease-free. Rabies shots clinics are but a single, and rather minor, example of such efforts. Flu shots offered each autumn also have a strong government component to them.

There have been a few noteworthy successes that have added greatly to human civilization, thanks to government vaccine programs, namely the eradication of smallpox and the near-eradication of polio, diphtheria, measles and mumps. These plagues were once as common as they were feared, but now they are all but unheard of.

Public health is vastly improved as a result of government-managed vaccine programs.

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