You have heard this before: The earth is not the center of our solar system the sun is; gravity keeps us anchored to our earth; bacteria and viruses cause disease and not bad humors; washing one's hands before a surgical procedure or cleaning a wound prevents infection. It has taken man many thousands of years to acquire the knowledge that those truths tell.
Wikipedia tells us "Edward Jenner, (17 May 1749 – 26 January 1823) was an English physician and scientist who was the pioneer of the smallpox vaccine, the world's first vaccine. He is often called 'the father of immunology and his work is said to have 'saved more lives than the work of any other human.' Jenner noted the common observation that milkmaids who acquired the milder cow pox were generally immune to smallpox." He tested this hypothesis by inoculating a boy with the skin scrapings of milkmaids who had cow pox. Ultimately the boy did not, when injected with small pox, get the deadly form of disease. Hence the connection was made between immunization of the weakened disease and its effectiveness in preventing its deadly cousin.
Two hundred years later vaccination derived from the science of Jenner's work proves true and it does so thousands upon thousands of times. Science has verified immunization through vaccination by repeated testing.
If the credentialed scientists are to be believed there is absolutely no relationship to vaccines and the causation of autism. The man who promulgated this discredited theory has had his medical license pulled and his "theory" discredited. When laymen listen to quack science they expose not only their child to horrible diseases but everyone else's child to them as well. Herd immunity works -- look it up if you do not know what it is. The rights of smokers end where my nose begins and one's ability to choose not to vaccinate ends where the lives of others are risked. There is NO libertarian right to kill simply because, based on faulty notions, they do not want to vaccinate their child.
Finally, on a personal note, I am living proof that an unvaccinated child can acquire a dreaded preventable-through-vaccination-disease. The disease I acquired is an anachronism now but it was not in October, 1954. Vaccination against the paralysis-inducing disease, polio, was not discovered and tested until April, 1955. Only six months stood between a physically normal life and one marked by total paralysis of one leg, needing braces, crutches, night casts ad infinitum x-rays, three surgeries, bedridden for one year and other psychological trauma associated with it.
Children grow up and must carry the after effects of the disease as adults and encounter the difficulties of aging and polio's attendant problems. As an adult I have fractured my polio compromised femur three times. Due to falls, a polio subject's pariah, I fractured my arm, tore a tendon, dislocated a finger, fractured toes twice, suffered a concussion as a child and acquired an eye problem as an adult from another fall all due to the balance compromises of polio. Another femur fracture and I could be nursing home bound before my time -- at least that is what my surgeon told me in addition to saying "Don't fall!"
There was no number of miles my parents would have traveled, no limit of money they would have paid, no stone left unturned if their child could have had a life free from the monstrous after-effects of polio. I, Children's Hospital told me, was lucky I had a mild case. Others had it worse and still others, unable to breathe, sometimes died. I can attest to the disease virulence of polio.
So far, through mandatory vaccination our nation has become and remains polio free. The disease, however, is out there lurking waiting for its vector to present its gifts if vaccination nation listens to its cranks, religious fanatics and know nothings within who act as charlatans to a public who knows not what they do.