We use cookies to provide some features and experiences in QOSHE

More information  .  Close
Aa Aa Aa
- A +

Vaccines come with risks. You should still get them.

1 114 297

Ten states are battling the spread of measles, the contagious and sometimes lethal childhood disease once bested by vaccines. Washington state, in particular, has declared a state of emergency in response to the rising number of measles cases concentrated in Clark County, where childhood vaccination rates lag behind regional averages. Public health officials have made special entreaties to residents to get themselves and their children vaccinated as the outbreak has spread.

But vaccinating after an outbreak has begun is suboptimal, to say the least; ideally, widespread vaccination should prevent flare-ups of disease from gaining traction in the first place. It’s understandable that, once parents start seeing and hearing of children they know falling ill, they might think twice about letting their own little ones go unvaccinated. But why the hesitation to begin with?

Medical anthropologist Elisa Sobo, who has researched families who choose not to vaccinate for philosophical reasons, recently told NPR that “most of the people who are hesitating to vaccinate . . . They’re really smart people, and they’re highly, highly educated.” This tracks with other studies, which have found vaccine-phobic parents to be geographically clustered and on the college-educated, information-hungry side. They’re parents who are worried about safety and are mistrustful of medical authorities, and who have access to huge quantities of........

© Washington Post