A 14-year-old girl in Britain has died after receiving a vaccine against cervical cancer. While her death has not officially been linked to the vaccine, many are assuming it to be the cause. Dalrymple argues in the pages of The Times that the benefits of immunization greatly outweigh the risks and that concern over vaccination is partially attributable to its own success at eliminating diseases that threaten human life:
As common infectious diseases loosen their hold on human beings, so the harms caused by immunisation loom larger and larger in people’s minds, obliterating remembrance of conditions before immunisation. Technical improvement is taken for granted the moment it is made (how difficult it is to remember the world before the internet, although many of us have lived most of our lives without it).
Nothing is sooner forgotten than that we have much to be grateful for. Therefore a current death from immunisation counts more than a thousand lives saved by it, in part because a death is tangible but saved life abstract.