Every winter you hear the same thing, "Get Vaccinated!" or as they say here at the University of Minnesota, "Do it for the herd!" Despite the fact they make humans into a pack of animals, this is exactly what we are. Packed into cities, apartment buildings, dorms and schools, there is real danger that a simple disease can be easily passed from person to person.
After growing up in the 1990's, me and my peers have never seen an epidemic that lead to mass deaths. The only thing I ever learned about was HIV, and despite the seriousness of this disease, it can only be passed through sexual contact and from bodily fluids. This characteristic of HIV makes it fairly easy to protect yourself against it.
The real threat to most people comes in the form of the flu and other diseases that can be passed on just by sneezing or being careless. We may not all have seen the effects of this, but the history books show what can happen. The 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic killed around 20 million people worldwide. Measles, a not so common disease which is becoming more common, is usually vaccinated for when a child reaches 18 months and can prove to be deadly. Unvaccinated populations in Nigeria have become at risk because they wouldn't vaccinate for religious and cultural reasons. The BBC reports that even in America and other Western Nations people are not vaccinating children because of the archaic myth that vaccinations increase the risk of Autism in children. This is absurd and with immunization could prevent 900 children under the age of nine from getting measles.
The possibility that immunization could aggravate underlying forms of autism is a dangerous myth that shouldn't even be a question any more. The vaccinations that were in question were made with thimerosal, and due to unfounded toxicity concerns have been discontinued and replaced by mercury-free mediums. The real danger is not whether a person will become autistic (I've had so many thimerosal shots I should be acting like the mad hatter if this were true) but whether that person will contract a potentially deadly illness and, even worse, pass it on.
So when living in a crowded place like a city, like a dorm, a house with multiple people, going to a busy school, or wherever you find yourself around a great number of people, don't just think of your personal well being, think of the other people. They could be carrying a virus, or could be susceptible to a virus. Get vaccinated. Do it for the herd.