Vaccination has greatly diminished death, illness and suffering in the world. But no other medical technology has been so dogged with controversy. The book chronicles the development of the key lifesaving vaccines since the 18th century. It tells the stories of great scientists and their discoveries, of the protests and pain along the stumbling path of progress. This is the first book to tell the whole story of vaccination for a general audience. In light of controversies about flu vaccine and autism, it will be of particular interest to parents, pediatricians, public health workers and anyone fascinated by medical history. Read More>>

Also Available: Table of Contents and Index

Arthur Allen is a Washington DC-based journalist who has written on vaccine issues in The New York Times Magazine, the Washington Post Magazine, The New Republic, Atlantic Monthly, Salon and Slate.


The Fear Industrial Complex

I generally dislike John Stossel's reporting. He's overly simplistic, a bit cruel and supercilious, and like all TV journalists of his type would rather kick you in the groin than tell the truth. But I admit, I enjoyed watching him rake Barbara Loe Fisher and the DTP lawyer Allen McDonnell over the coals on 20/20 on Sunday. To be sure, he rounds off a few facts. It's not true to say that the IOM found no cases of brain damage from the DTP shot. In fact they held that it was likely there were rare cases of brain damage from the shot. Paul Offit disagrees but he's not the only vaccinologist with an informed opinion on the subject.  But as for the autism link, I agree with Stossel--there isn't one. Click here for the URL:


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There is a fair amount of debate over whether the cases of brain damage associated with the whole-cell DTP vaccine were really caused by it. Reasonable scientists disagree on that point.

That is far different, though, than making science-free claims that vaccines cause autism, cancer, SIDS, or any other assorted conditions. There's no evidence that they do, and the reason I think Fisher is a loon is because she makes many of these claims in spite of mountains of scientific evidence to the contrary. She is so entrenched in her position that no amount of research or data will convince her otherwise.

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