1. Don’t believe everything you read. This is something most of us learned from our parents early on, but it is especially pertinent in the vaccination debate. There is a lot of bad science out there, misleading intelligent people everyday. Anyone can put anything on the Internet nowadays. Just because an organization has a webpage does not mean it is credible. When doing research about vaccinations, it is important to consider the source and its credentials.
2. Don’t believe everything you hear or see. Television and media outlets are not the best source for vaccination information. Media can be a good starting point for information, but you should always talk to your doctor if you are unsure about what is best for you or your children. Further, while there can be mild side effects from vaccines, just because someone
you know experiences that does not mean that it will happen to you or your child, or that
those side effects are harmful.
Reading Offit’s work is both sad and encouraging. Reading his work, I was saddened by the masses of parents swayed by bad science, and saddened by the masses of children, as Offit puts it, in the middle of this war. Offit ends his book that he opened with an assertion, with a plea: “Following the tragedy of September 11, 2001, there was a moment when we all stood still and looked at each other. No longer individuals, we were part of a whole. Personal interests were irrelevant. We were united in our grief. One. Then the moment was gone, dissolved in a cloud of lawsuits, fingerpointing, partisanship, and blame. But although fleeting,
it had been there. And if we can recapture the feeling that we are all in this together, all part of a large immunological cooperative, the growing tragedy of children dying from preventable infections can be avoided. We can do this. It’s in us: the better angels of our nature.” It would do all of us well to step back and embrace our communal duty of protecting our nation’s youth.