To vaccinate or not to vaccinate, that seems to be a controversial topic among parents. The state of Michigan requires schoolchildren to be immunized from 14 contagious diseases, but it also allows exemptions. Measles is an especially potent virus. According to the CDC, there's been 101 cases reported of a measles outbreak in 10 states. The CDC has a link to a fact sheet for parents called Diseases and the Vaccines that Prevent them. Want to know more? Here's some books to help separate fact from fiction.
One of the most important tools in the public health arsenal, vaccines are to thank for the global eradication of smallpox, and for allowing us to defeat the dire threat of infectious disease for more than one hundred years. Vaccine development is where scientists turn when faced with the frightening spread of new diseases like Zika, SARS, and Ebola. So if vaccines have proven to be such an effective tool, why are growing numbers of people questioning the wisdom of vaccinating children? Why have public-sector vaccine producers almost vanished? And can we trust the multinational corporations that increasingly dominate vaccine development and production? In this highly original and controversial new book, Stuart Blume argues that processes of globalization and unmet healthcare needs are eroding faith in the institutions producing and providing vaccines. He brings together short, readable histories of immunization practices over the past century, from the work of early pioneers such as Louis Pasteur and Robert Koch to the establishment of the World Health Organization and the introduction of genetic engineered vaccines. Focusing on today's "vaccine hesitancy," the book exposes the inadequacies of public health persuasion, and discusses what will be needed to restore parents' confidence. This is a timely history, one that not only sheds new light on the origins of our global vaccine crisis, but also points a way forward.
In 1994, Peter J. Hotez's nineteen-month-old daughter, Rachel, was diagnosed with autism. Dr. Hotez, a pediatrician-scientist who develops vaccines for neglected tropical diseases affecting the world's poorest people, became troubled by the decades-long rise of the influential anti-vaccine community and their inescapable narrative around childhood vaccines and autism. The alleged link between the two was first espoused in a fraudulent scientific paper, long since retracted, but the story shows no signs of letting up. As a result, we've seen deadly and disabling outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases around the country, and Texas, where Hotez lives, is at particular risk.
In Vaccines Did Not Cause Rachel's Autism, Hotez draws on his experiences as a pediatrician, vaccine scientist, and father of an autistic child. Outlining the arguments on both sides of the debate, he examines the science that refutes the concerns of the anti-vaccine movement, debunks current conspiracy theories alleging a cover-up by the CDC, and critiques the scientific community's failure to effectively communicate the facts about vaccines and autism to the general public, all while sharing his very personal story of raising a now-adult daughter with autism.