As early as 1000 AD, there are reports of vaccination against smallpox in China. Dried smallpox scabs would be used to infect healthy people in the hope that they would develop a mild infection rather than succumbing to the often fatal disease (this method is called variolation). If this happened, then they would be immune to smallpox. There is evidence that this practice was widespread in Africa, India and the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire in the 17th century.
Vaccination success is evident when you look at reliable data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that shows how many cases of vaccine-preventable diseases there were each year before and after the introduction of vaccines.
Vaccines have eliminated a small pox from the world. In North America, measles and polio have been declared eradicated by the World Health Organization. In fact, polio only exists in a few locations in the world today. On the other hand, measles, mumps, and other vaccine preventable diseases are only a plane ride away.
To learn more about disease elimination and the difference between eradication visit the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.
In Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Immunization program tracks several indicators for immunizations in your community. Countywide immunization levels can be found here. School level immunization rates can be accessed here. Personal immunization records can be accessed through the Wisconsin Immunization Registry.
Other nearby states have immunization registries. Iowa can be accessed here. Illinois will respond to patient requests for information using this form. Residents of Michigan can request a copy of their immunization record by completing the form on this page.