Ten years ago, health officials declared measles a dormant disease in the United States. But 2014 is shaping up to be the worst year on record for the disease – the CDC has already confirmed 129 cases throughout the country. While those susceptible to measles range in age from infants to the elderly, we can’t help but connect the dots between the widespread measles outbreak and the recent controversy over childhood vaccination.

While much of the news coverage is science and research based, more and more we are witnessing celebrities coming forward to express their personal views on vaccination, and why they are choosing to withhold their children from receiving lifesaving shots. Most notably, TV stars Jenny McCarthy and Kristin Cavallari have created a media storm after proclaiming that vaccination has a direct link to autism.

Figures published by the CDC claim that vaccines administered over the past two decades will prevent 322 million illnesses, 21 million hospitalizations, and 732,000 deaths over the course of a lifetime. These vaccines will have also saved $295 billion in costs, such as medical expenses, and more than $1.3 trillion in societal costs over that time, as people spared from contracting certain diseases will still be able to contribute to society.

As the end of the academic year approaches, schools are urging parents to vaccinate their children before they return to the classroom in the fall. Although varied by state, the CDC requires that all children receive vaccines for mumps, measles, rubella, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, and polio before enrolling in any school. In fact, Illinois Public Schools have taken a “no shots, no school” approach, and will require all students attending a K-12 school to receive two doses the MMR vaccine – Measles, Mumps, and Rubella – as well as two doses of the chicken pox vaccine, before the start of the 2014-2015 school year.