"They're finding bubonic plague on the subway!" a friend recently said to me. "How afraid should I be?" Some subway riders are scared. The disco...
As a parent, I can understand the visceral fear of possibly placing your child in harm's way. But the reality is, you can potentially cause them more harm by not vaccinating. There are many who still see a link between vaccines and autism, but for me and most public health scientists, the jury is out: vaccines are innocent in this matter.
The only way to get control of the situation is to, well, get control of the situation. Hillary Clinton has to take the reins for herself, and get out there and answer questions about the emails.
Grandparents can explain their concerns for their grandchildren. If they -- like me -- are old enough to have had measles or remember past epidemics, they can recall a person in their community who died or was impaired by this seemingly innocuous disease.
You've likely seen the Jimmy Kimmel "Public Service Announcement" on vaccines. Nearly four million other people have viewed it on YouTube. Thing is, I didn't like the "PSA" video.
In the past few months, I -- and many of my colleagues in the field of Public Health -- have been absolutely horrified by the seemingly growing number of preventable illnesses in this country.
When you go public with your opinions, you are apt at times to ruffle some feathers, intentionally or otherwise. I have dealt with this -- on television, on Twitter, and elsewhere -- many times. I have some suggestions for how best to dodge these bullets should you ever find yourself in similar crosshairs.
So much of this is about trust: Helping families trust not just me, but all the research and science behind vaccines, helping them trust the people who truly are experts as opposed to the people who say they are, but aren't.
Measles is a serious and highly contagious disease, but, fortunately, we can prevent it with immunizations. I understand that some parents are concerned about vaccines. The evidence about the MMR vaccine's safety and benefits is strong and consistent. Here are some answers to the most commonly asked questions I get...
Blaming immigrants for spread of disease is not a new concept in the U.S. and like previous spurious claims, this latest attempt holds no water.
The first step to solving problems is to identify and understand them. With that in mind, here is a list of five reasons why some liberals are just as bad, or at least almost, as creationism-believing conservatives when it comes to spreading pseudoscience.
Vaccinations protect the human species against diseases for which there is no cure once the infection occurs. In this respect, vaccines become the cure for certain diseases through prevention, whereas we usually think of being cured as what doctors do to us after we get sick.
If people are afraid -- and it is fear that underlies the refusal to vaccinate -- they don't need to be badgered or sneered at, they need to be reassured. And that reassurance comes best from someone they trust. If not Roald Dahl, perhaps an older person who might remember what it was like before vaccines.
Everyone possible needs to be vaccinated. Prevention, a tough "defense," is truly our best "offense" in the case of these terrible diseases, not the other way around, and we do have the tools to win. We just need the will.
Hopefully one of the outcomes of this recent Disneyland measles outbreak will be more research to confirm the underlying psychological drivers of Vax-O-Noia. Unless we understand the root cause of this persistent threat to public health and apply that understanding to the task of addressing people's fears, episodes like the current outbreak will continue to occur
The anti-vax movement does show that even when the government isn't corrupt, when it appears to be, it has dire consequences.