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Vaccines are one of the most important and controversial achievements in public health. Washington-based journalist Allen explores in depth this dark horse of medicine from the first instances of doctors saving patients from smallpox by infecting them with it to the current controversy over vaccinating preteen girls against the sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer. One thing becomes very clear: fear of vaccination is not a recent problem. In colonial America, inoculations against smallpox were seen by many as a means of deflecting the will of God. In the 20th century, the triumphs of the Salk polio vaccine and the eradication of smallpox may actually have led to current antivaccination movements: "as infectious diseases disappeared, in part thanks to vaccines, the risks of vaccination itself were thrown into relief." Allen's comprehensive, often unexpected and intelligently told history illuminates the complexity of a public health policy that may put the individual at risk but will save the community. This book leaves the reader with a sense of awe at all that vaccination has accomplished and trepidation over the future of the vaccine industry. 16 pages of illus. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Pulling together years of accumulated research on a topic he has written about for several national publications, Allen recounts the 200-year history of vaccination, from its first employment to combat smallpox, "the first and only contagious disease ever eradicated" by a vaccine, to the present, in which decades of unanswered questions plus low profit margins for vaccine development threaten its future. Allen undertakes a ponderous mission indeed because there has been so much controversy, most recently regarding an alleged link between autism and a vaccine, and disagreement over the efficacy of various vaccines. A 2005 study found little difference in fatality rates between elderly flu shot recipients and those who didn't get the shots, and then there's the whole discussion about how much social responsibility the individual must bear when getting a vaccination that puts the recipient at risk of unwanted side effects but also helps protect the community from an epidemic. Thorny issues all, which Allen deftly maneuvers as he wrangles myriad aspects of a very complicated issue into a comprehensible text. Donna Chavez
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
It has been some time since I read it. I think I will read it again. He gives you a good understanding of vaccine without being biased.Published 7 months ago by Michael D Johnson
I enjoyed reading this book for its historical perspective as well as for the few chapters of investigative journalism done during recent whooping cough outbreaks. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Sara
Arthur Allen provides a highly accurate history of vaccinations. He doesn't mince words yet conveys the world of diseases honestly. Read morePublished 22 months ago by Jeanine R. Whitney
Took an interesting course on vaccines offered by the U of PA and found this book equally enlightening on the subject.Published on March 12, 2013 by Elizabeth
Great price for thr book. Ordered it for a paper I was doing. It's interesting in thr beginning but becomes a bit of a drag towards the middle..Published on December 5, 2012 by shereen
This book is a highly readeable and intriguing look at an important subject. Mr. Allen writes well and gives us insights into the thought process of the anti-vax movement. Read morePublished on August 26, 2012 by S. Herlihy
Boring and poorly written , Could get a better reading from Wikipedia. the stories are nagged forever and takes a great deal of time to get to the point. Read morePublished on June 1, 2010 by Malinowski
Arthur Allen freely admits that he is biased in writing this book, calling himself a "vaccine obsessive" and claims that a doctor saved his life from an infection as a child, so he... Read morePublished on August 19, 2009 by W.G. Whitney
Research is important when entering the platform of vaccinations.
One of the issues is that the research reflect the whole world. Read more