The title question is something I've been mulling over lately. When I was a child, I started getting the flu jab. I didn't know much about the flu, but I figured it must be something horrible if I needed a vaccine to protect me, so I dutifully got the jab every year. That continued until after I went to England, and one year I just didn't get the jab. Yes, I got the flu that year, but it wasn't all that horrible and was nothing to fear since I don't have any respiratory issues that would make flu more serious for me. I found that my fear of flu (for me, personally) was rather unfounded. It might be different if I fell in one of the higher risk groups for it, but I don't.
Recently I've come across people who seem absolutely terrified of chicken pox. I don't recall encountering such reactions prior to the chicken pox vaccine being available, and I certainly don't remember encountering such reactions in England, where they do not give the varicella jab. Again, I could see the fear for those who are in a higher risk group with it, but in general I just don't see it.
So why the fear? Can these diseases be serious? Of course. Are they usually, for the majority of the population? Not that I'm aware. And so I wonder if part of the fear isn't because of the vaccine being available, in a way. Having a vaccine for something seems to render the disease more serious in the minds of people, or maybe that's just me. As fewer cases of the disease are seen, it seems it would be easy to begin seeing it as worse than it is, since it's not just another common childhood illness. So I suppose the reaction can make sense, even though I think it isn't the logical conclusion to make. Of course, my musings on this could be completely off, too. What do you think?
ETA: Just to be clear, I'm not saying one should never get vaccines, but just wondering if some undue fear has been created due to the fact that we don't see these things regularly. One should always look at all the facts and weigh all risks and benefits when making these decisions, and the decisions that are right for one may not be right for another when it comes to medical decisions.