Could It Happen Here? Vaccine Risk Controversies And The Specter Of Derailment A successful immunization system depends mostly on people's willingness to have themselves and their children vaccinated

Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, New York City, NY, USA.
Health Affairs (Impact Factor: 4.97). 05/2005; 24(3):729-39. DOI: 10.1377/hlthaff.24.3.729
Source: PubMed


Controversy over vaccine safety has achieved high visibility over the past decade. At the same time, however, levels of coverage for routinely recommended childhood vaccines in the United States are at their highest ever. We examine this apparent paradox. We consider the ways in which concerns over vaccine safety have emerged and diffused through the popular media, legislative hearings, and Internet-based activism. As a case study, we review the controversy over the alleged connection between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and consider why it had a dramatic effect on the vaccine's acceptance in Great Britain but virtually none in the United States.

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    ABSTRACT: Adverse publicity that placed undue emphasis on a possible connection between autism and the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and vaccines containing thimerosal made parents in the United Kingdom reluctant to allow their children to receive the vaccine. The same concerns have played themselves out in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's decision to recommend removal of thimerosal from other vaccines, even as the individual autism claims have been rejected. That recommendation, based on unsubstantiated safety concerns, reveals a deep-seated institutional overreaction that is more likely to cost lives than to save them.
    No preview · Article · May 2005 · Health Affairs
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    ABSTRACT: Major differences exist in the immunization programs of the United Kingdom and the United States. If one believes that most health policy decisions in Western industrialized democracies are political, then many of the differences may seem to reflect the variance in the nature of political systems. However, each program has unique components that appear paradoxical, and what works in one society will not necessarily work in another. Those who seek to substitute portions of one vaccine system with those of another must appreciate the context within which each functions.
    Preview · Article · May 2005 · Health Affairs
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