Vaccine Lessons from Mom
Virginia Hughes, who was with Seed back when I was with ScienceBlogs and ScienceBlogs was with Seed, writes about the conversation she had with her mother about why she was not vaccinated as a child. Here’s what she got out of it:
The conversation was revelatory for me, for two reasons. First, it made me wonder whether vilifying anti-vaccine parents — as the press has done repeatedly this week — is a good strategy for increasing vaccine coverage. When parents make medical choices, good or bad, it’s for one simple reason: They’re trying to do the right thing for their kid. Refusing vaccination is not a political statement.
Second, my mom’s story illustrates that data and authority and expertise can have real power, but only when communicated effectively. For whatever reason, the ideas of Dr. Burris, Dr. Taylor, and Dr. Mendelsohn resonated with my parents in a way that mainstream medical voices did not. Why? This is the question I wish more doctors would ask — and more journalists, too. If we did, then maybe we’d better understand how fables about modern medicine are written. And, perhaps, how to erase them.