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By Marshall Poe
Contents:
  1. Vaccine Nation: America’s Changing Relationship with Immunization
  2. The roots of the anti-vaccination movement go far deeper than Jenny McCarthy - Los Angeles Times
  3. Vaccine Nation: America’s Changing Relationship with Immunization

This book explores the social history of vaccination in the United States and reveals an underlying political agenda.

The book reviews the development of the current recommended vaccine schedule and examines the forces that shape public opinion regarding vaccination. Conis begins with a discussion of the Kennedy Vaccination Assistance Act of , examining the political motives behind the legislation and the historical timing — noting that at a press conference when the public was poised to hear Kennedy answer questions on communism and Soviet success in space exploration, they were surprised with an announcement about a national vaccination campaign against polio.

Throughout the book, Conis comes back to the idea that political agenda shapes what, when, and how vaccination and vaccine-preventable diseases are presented to the public.

Parents often question why their newborn should receive the hepatitis B vaccine when there is really minimal chance of their child contracting the disease. She reviews the history of how this came to be after a public health campaign targeting adults failed because so many adolescents and young adults do not receive regular preventative care. She also discusses how the spread of disease among schoolchildren is a prominent force in many outbreaks, so that over the years, the age of children targeted for vaccination moved from school-age to preschoolers to infants to ensure the protection of the largest number of people.

The book also examines some of the forces that led to the development of anti-vaccination sentiment.

Vaccine Nation: America’s Changing Relationship with Immunization

Gender is another driving force in the vaccination controversy. Beatrix Hoffman, author of Health Care for Some. Vaccine Nation is especially strong on the vaccine policies of presidential administrations and on the relationship between vaccine politics and social movements such as environmentalism and feminism.

The History Of Vaccines And Why Sales Are Rising

Historian Elena Conis analyses the shifts in official and public thinking on immunization as initiatives by presidents from John F. Kennedy onwards drove waves of mass vaccination. As she reveals, each new vaccine has prompted a radical reevaluation of the disease it targeted. Conis brings out their complexities in the United States with great skill.

The roots of the anti-vaccination movement go far deeper than Jenny McCarthy - Los Angeles Times

This is a fine social history of an ongoing story. She illuminates issues that others have obfuscated, and she opens up discussions that some have tried to shut down. She understands that vaccine policy is determined not solely by objective science, but also by politics, profits, prejudices, and bureaucratic imperatives. Conis provides that historical context in rich and illuminating detail, and in crystal clear prose that any lay reader can follow. Emory University historian Elena Conis goes sleuthing in her book, Vaccine Nation: America's Changing Relationship with Immunization , finding answers in science, politics, and shifting cultural standards about how we vaccinate and what our doubts are.

Conis also spends a fair amount of time discussing the many legitimate reasons why people from all walks of life are sometimes skeptical of vaccines, covering heavy metals in the ingredient lists, safety concerns over testing, and vaccine injuries. With its extensive list of sources, Vaccine Nation is a surprisingly balanced history of this controversial topic.

Vaccine Nation: America’s Changing Relationship with Immunization

These all contributed to the still-current controversy over the safety and medical value of vaccination, which started with the introduction of the polio vaccine. Highly recommended. American Public Health Association.

Many books on vaccines and immunizations reproduce a boundless faith in the possibilities of this public health technology. As one would expect from a professional historian, Conis develops a more complex argument in Vaccine Nation. Chicago Blog.

Connecting History

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