Academic Year 2011-2012

Event Title

Childhood Vaccines—Public Health Benefit Versus Individual Health Threat

Disciplines

Influenza Virus Vaccines

Description

Ever since the introduction of the first vaccines more than 150 years ago, there has been opposition to vaccines, in spite of convincing evidence of benefit. The tradeoff between the public health benefits of vaccines, which accrue to large numbers of people, versus the possible negative consequences of vaccines in small numbers of individuals has been exemplified recently by the claims by some that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines given to large numbers of children cause autism. Despite a decade of serious scientific investigation of this claim that has yielded no supportive evidence, the anecdotal accounts of numerous parents stand in contradistinction to the claim that this vaccine is safe. This presentation explored both the science and the ethics behind this controversy and suggested ways that the two sides can be reconciled.

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Childhood Vaccines—Public Health Benefit Versus Individual Health Threat

Ever since the introduction of the first vaccines more than 150 years ago, there has been opposition to vaccines, in spite of convincing evidence of benefit. The tradeoff between the public health benefits of vaccines, which accrue to large numbers of people, versus the possible negative consequences of vaccines in small numbers of individuals has been exemplified recently by the claims by some that the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccines given to large numbers of children cause autism. Despite a decade of serious scientific investigation of this claim that has yielded no supportive evidence, the anecdotal accounts of numerous parents stand in contradistinction to the claim that this vaccine is safe. This presentation explored both the science and the ethics behind this controversy and suggested ways that the two sides can be reconciled.