Vaccination Wars

The ongoing fight between science and vaccine deniers is having an effect on public health.

The ongoing fight between science and vaccine deniers is having an effect on public health

The latest issue of APA News is asking why immunization rates are lower for the HPV vaccine. I don’t personally have access to the article, but I rest assured that the answer is complex. However, professional organizations with a stake in healthcare might consider reacting more overtly to what our country’s elected leaders tell the public. I’m not sure what can be done about the state of public health when people in power continue to stoke fears and support information with little to no factual basis for the purpose of political gain.

The issues surrounding our inability to get children vaccinated are taking a real toll. According to the CDC, among the number of recent deaths reported for children of the flu, more than three quarters of the children were not vaccinated.

No one likes to see their child go through vaccinations. If the needles weren’t bad enough, the reaction from the immune system can be miserable. We can improve some of these problems with developing technologies, such as patch delivery systems and supportive treatment for side effects, but cost is increasingly a barrier. However, the predominant issue discussed is not the cost of vaccination, but of the perceived assault on parental rights that vaccination has come to represent.

How did medicine become embroiled in a culture war, and what is a pediatrician to do? Bow to the wishes of parents who won’t budge on the issue, or drop them from the practice? The discussion regarding how to counter these types of assaults on public health continues.