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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

August is National Immunization Awareness Month

Childhood immunization is a controversial topic; one camp insists that it is responsible for autism and other illnesses and disabilities in children; the other side maintains that vaccination is mandatory in order to prevent epidemics. Here are some recently published books on the topic.

Vaccine Epidemic: How Corporate Greed, Biased Science, and Coercive Government Threaten our Human Rights, our Health, and our Children, edited by Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland, presents a series of articles featuring instances of vaccinations causing illnesses to children, adolescents and adults. They contend that government mandates for vaccination violate individual rights and suggest ways to reform American health policy.

Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All, written by Paul A. Offit, an infectious disease physician at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, maintains that the media’s presentation of anecdotal incidence of disease and disabilities caused by vaccinations is playing on parents’ fears. He asserts that epidemic, the end result of not being protected by vaccinations, is far worse, posing a threat to all of society.

The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science, and Fear, written by Seth Mnookin, also contends that the media, in an effort to being fair to both sides of the argument, has encouraged certain groups to advance a health-scare hoax. He also points to various anti-vaccination outbursts over the years since the smallpox vaccine was developed as the continuation of an anti-scientific sentiment in society.

The Vaccine Answerbook: 200 Essential Answers to Help You Make the Right Decisions for your Child, written by physician Jamie Loehr, provides detailed information about specific vaccines, their side effects, when it is not recommended to administer them, and when to schedule them for your child. He also explores some of the controversies surrounding vaccines and their purported cause of disabilities.

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