The confirmed case of measles in Maryland demonstrates the importance of public awareness about the safety and efficacy of vaccines. Unfortunately, perhaps because cases of previously common infectious diseases are no longer the experience of every family, getting a vaccination may seem unnecessary. Public confidence in vaccines has slipped over the past decade, according to a recent survey commissioned by Research!America
. Seventy-seven percent of Americans say they are at least somewhat confident in the current system in the United States for evaluating the safety of vaccines and recommendations for when they should be given, a decrease of eight percentage points from 10 years ago. Fifty-nine percent of respondents strongly believe they have benefited from the development of vaccines over the past 50 years, a 16-percentage-point decrease from 2008.