How can we explain this disconnect between life on the screen and on the street? This is not a trivial question. The techniques of science have been instrumental in raising the standard of living of billions, yet disdain for science and scientists, especially when incorporated into political movements, threatens scientific funding, progress and a rational approach to decision making on critical issues.
So, how do we know the new shot will protect against the year's new strains? Every year, a panel of experts uses surveillance information to predict the dominant strains in the upcoming flu season. This process has been very successful, with the flu shot matching the dominant strain almost every season since 1995 (
In the Republican debate last Wednesday, the two doctors on the stage dangerously hedged on vaccinations. Ben Carson and Rand Paul could have just said, "Get your kid vaccinated, it's important," and left it at that. Instead they pandered to the crowd. In doing so they violated their moral commitment.
Planned Parenthood has become the battered scapegoat, bullied by a Senate that historically and profoundly excludes women. Lost in the politicking over this issue is the bravery and courage of women who agreed to be donors. Without them, the vaccines and medicines on which all Americans rely might not exist.
Our two daughters, Jessie and Abby, get vaccines. Not only do they receive their shots on schedule, but they've grown to understand why we've chosen to dedicate our careers to expanding access to immunization -- and they now know why we have to travel long distances, sometimes for extended periods of time, to help ensure that kids get the vaccines they need.