Author spotlights vaccine safety

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Infectious disease expert Paul Offit (Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia) wrote a very interesting book: “Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All”.

A man took his infant son in for a vaccination. That night, the child died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Could the shot have caused his son’s death? In this case, it did not. When the man got to the doctor’s office, the line was too long. He took his son home without getting vaccinated, intending to return the next day. But suppose he had waited? Forever after he would have wondered if maybe — just maybe — that shot had been responsible.

“Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All,” by Paul A. Offit, uses this story to illustrate the difficulties of assigning responsibility for problems caused by, or assumed to have been caused by, vaccines. He shows how those uncertainties have been exploited by those opposing vaccination to fan fear.

Paul Offit shows how the modern anti-vaccine movement started after a British study suggested a link between the whooping cough vaccine and brain damage in infants. The results of the study could not be repeated in other studies and eventually were repudiated.

Their anti-vaccine arguments, Paul Offit says, consist of nothing more than anecdotal drama combined with conspiracy theories that pander to parents’ most emotional fears. What they should be doing, he says, is encouraging parents to trust the huge bank of scientific data proving the safety of vaccines and their efficacy in eliminating many deadly infectious diseases.

“Deadly Choices” is a book that should be read by any parent worried about vaccine safety.

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