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.


"Vaccine" Correction/Clarification

On page 253 of my book, there is an error pertaining to Barbara Loe Fisher, a vaccine skeptic and vaccine safety advocate. I stated in my book that her son had a reaction to his third DPT shot, when in fact it was his fourth shot, when he was two and a half years old. In addition, the book inadequately described the symptoms Fisher witnessed her son experience after his fourth DPT shot:

A more complete, substitute description follows:

In 1980, on the afternoon of his fourth DTP shot, as Fisher has recounted in many interviews and speeches since then, she walked into Chris's room to find her two and a half year old son sitting in a chair, staring, and then watched his eyes roll back in his head and his head fall to his shoulder. She could not wake him and picked him up and carried him to his bed, where he remained unconscious for the better part of the next 18 hours. The symptoms she described were typical of a convulsion and collapse/shock occasionally reported after DTP vaccination, which studies indicate rarely have long-term repercussions. Chris was eventually diagnosed with minimal brain damage, including multiple learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder.

Additionally, the book states that Fisher advocated that a clinical trial be conducted in which the health of 10,000 vaccinated children and 10,000 unvaccinated children would be compared. In fact, Fisher never gave a specific number of how many children should be included in such a trial. The 10,000 number came from a 19th century vaccine opponent who proposed a similar study. To read more details of Fisher's disagreement with what I said about her in my book, click here.


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She's still a loon.

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