When you look at rate of deaths from measles it was on a steady decline BEFORE the vaccine was introduced. If you follow the trajectory of the decline of measles from 1912, the decline was on pace to reduce the measles death rate to 1 person in 25 million by 2010 in the US even without regard to the measles vaccine. In other words, based on the annual rate of deaths due to measles historically, if the measles vaccine was never used, the rate of deaths due to measles would still be right where we are today.
So what about the decline in measles cases?
Measles cases did decline around the time the vaccine was introduced in the US in 1963, BUT the measles vaccine was not the only change made making it ridiculous to attribute the decline solely to the vaccine or to the vaccine at all based on what we know of the effects of nutrition and sanitation on health. From 1950-1968, vitamin A fortification went from 3 to 12%. Vitamin A has been credited as one of the most influential factors in lowering mortality rate from measles around the world. In 1960 the first multivitamin aimed at children came out, then in 1961 Kennedy’s first executive order mandated that the USDA donations to the poor include a variety of fresh foods rather than whatever was the surplus that year. Later that same year the USDA was required to donate foods to schools for children who could not afford food. 1964 launched the war on poverty and brought the food stamp act. In 1965 medicare and medicaid were offered to Americans and the proportion of people living in poverty decreased by about 1/3 compared to the numbers in 1950. As we know sanitation and nutrition make a world of difference when it comes to health.