On Immunity: An Innoculation
Eula Biss combines research and personal experience as a mother to a young son in an overview of people’s attitudes toward vaccination. She shares a bit of the history of inoculation, whether through variolation or vaccination, and shows how parents have always wanted to protect their children against disease with whatever means available. This, then, includes now the parents who seek to protect their children against autism by choosing not to vaccinate.
Though her research leads her to conclude emphatically that the science has shown over and over again that vaccines are safe and do not cause autism, Biss’s book isn’t intended to persuade or change minds, though it’s safe to say she might hope for some of that. Rather, On Immunity is an examination of how our Western culture, particularly the segment of well-heeled and well-educated parents who feel it’s possible to “go natural” enough to guarantee health in themselves and their offspring, has fostered the anti-vaccination movement.
This well-written book is not just informative but thought-provoking as a cultural treatise and a reminder that all of us are part of “the body politic,” that we’re responsible not just for our own health but also the health of perfect strangers, especially those not as privileged as we may be.
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