When the Science is Unsettled.

BY KEN JAQUES (27)

This is the first in a series of takes from the front lines in the raging battle between those who question the safety of vaccines and those who believe the public interest outweighs those concerns. Later today we’ll feature an opposing view from Deductible Associate Editor Niran Al-Agba “In Defense of Pediatricians. (And a Word or Two of Advice for Public Health Types) ..” – The Editors

The “sides” are supercharged and it does not appear that there is an end in sight. Is it all out war, or is there room for a peaceful solution?

The ultimate goal in sharing a post like this is with the intent to bring two sides together in an attempt to end the vaccine debate. My goal is to be as neutral as possible. I don’t think that this ongoing debate is helping us, but I do think that an honest conversation, along with science, could put an end to the debate, in the best interest of all.

What’s a pro-vaxxer?

At the extreme end, a pro-vaxxer is one that is portrayed as believing every single vaccine works (almost perfectly) and is the best intervention ever created for disease prevention. None of these people wants to see epidemics or outbreaks of vaccine preventable disease.

The majority of “pro-vaxxers” are well aware of the history of polio and the polio vaccine, and have a similar belief. They understand and believe in the concept of herd immunity and believe that most people should be vaccinated against vaccine preventable diseases. While I can’t speak for all, I would assume that some believe in the concept of mandating vaccines, and others would not feel quite so strongly on mandates.

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The Best Defense is a Good Offense: Why Public Health Officials Need to Get Tough on Vaccination

BY RICHARD M. CARPIANO and JASON CHUNG (12)

Measles are preventable with vaccines so why are vaccination rates going down?/Dave Haygarth via Flickr

It’s a scary time for many parents and their children in Washington, Oregon, and New York, which are currently experiencing measles outbreaks. The vaunted herd immunity that has kept Americans safe for the past few decades is being eroded—via lower child vaccination coverage in communities throughout the US due to an increase in vaccination exemptions.

For years, fingers have been pointed at discredited doctor Andrew Wakefield for starting the spread of the now-debunked link between autism and the measles vaccine. Likewise, social media misinformation campaigns from so-called mommy blogs and anti-vaccination (often termed “anti-vaxxer”) activist groups have been effective in propagandizing pseudo-science ignorance among parents and politicians alike through websites, online ads, phony-expert panel talks, celebrity allies, online and in-person “word-of-mouth,” and aggressive political lobbying.