The federal government's Vaccines for Children program, which provides free shots to kids who might otherwise be unable to afford them, has been a massive bargain for the country that will save hundreds of thousands of lives, the CDC boasts in its weekly report. Researchers looked at vaccination rates for the 20 years the program has existed, compared them to earlier rates, and estimated that it will prevent 731,700 premature deaths, USA Today reports. In the process it will save $295 billion in medical costs.
As children fail to catch debilitating illnesses, researchers say they'll also put money back into society, to the tune of $1.3 trillion. But the CDC's glee has to be tempered, Medscape points out, by the current measles resurgence. As of April 18, there have been 129 cases this year, compared with 189 for all of 2014, a spike fueled in part by the anti-vaccine movement. A study in the same CDC report found that of California's 58 measles cases, about a third hit patients who declined vaccinations because of "philosophical objections."