For centuries the world lived in fear of epidemics like smallpox, polio, measles and mumps. It was not until the advent of modern medicine - more specifically, the vaccine - that these diseases became a distant memory; stories of a bygone era. However, these remarkable advances in medicine have given rise to a new set of fears: those of the adverse effects of vaccines and preventative medicine. A new book, Vaccinophobia and Vaccine Controversies of the 21st Century, published by Springer, explores this phenomenon in detail, and offers a foundation for the development of solutions to dispel the misinformation and myths that surround vaccines.
The controversies surrounding vaccines are not new. Since the first smallpox vaccine was created in the late 1770s, through to the creation of the polio inoculation, vaccines were derided by some who believed they were unnatural remedies. However, until recently fear of contracting these illnesses far outweighed those of inoculation, and medicine all but eradicated our world of these deadly diseases.
This undisputed acceptance of vaccinations changed through the 1960s when unease grew in line with the increase in vaccine development. "The swine-flu fiasco" of the 70s, worries about the whooping cough vaccine and perhaps the most pervasive of all controversies - the suggested link between MMR and autism - have all fueled anxiety over immunization. Vaccinophobia and Vaccine Controversies of the 21st Century deals with all of these controversies, and one thing is clear from the book's thorough examination: vaccines have become victims of their own success.
"With some parents and other caregivers refusing or delaying vaccines for their children/wards, some vaccine-preventable diseases that were well-controlled have staged a comeback," said Editor Archana Chatterjee, MD, PhD, from the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine and Creighton University School of Medicine's Center for Health Policy and Ethics. "Outbreaks of these diseases have been reported from countries where they were virtually unknown for many years. This situation is continuing to worsen, despite efforts by public health agencies and others to curb the spread of misinformation about the risks associated with these diseases and vaccine-related adverse events."
As the memory of mass infection fades, the new fear of vaccines themselves continues to build in popular belief and in the media, even attracting the attention of celebrities and public figures opposed to mandatory inoculations. Because of this, Vaccinophobia and Vaccine Controversies of the 21st Century could not be better timed to fill the gap in literature dealing with the subject of modern-day vaccine controversies.
Archana Chatterjee (Ed.)
Vaccinophobia and Vaccine Controversies of the 21st Century
2013, XV, 497 p. 7 illus., 4 illus. in color
Hardcover €139.99 | £126.00 | $189.00
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