AS a physician who has had the opportunity to teach and oversee medical students and residents, I often ask the question, "What is the single most important medical breakthrough or 'miracle' in the history of humanity?"

The most frequent responses are, 1) antibiotics, and 2) cancer treatments. Usually, if I wait a little longer, someone will give the answer I'm looking for, "vaccines."

While antibiotics and cancer therapies are incredible medical breakthroughs, they represent treatments, or therapies, for diseases that have broken through the body's immune system defenses.

Vaccines, on the other hand, have given us the ability to prevent disease, and represent the single greatest medical achievement, or "miracle," in human history. I encourage those who are vaccine-hesitant to consider this.

MATTHEW NELSON, MD

Saipan, CNMI

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