This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

If you are a user of my textbook and would like to suggest a blog post idea, please email me at: john.weeks@sdsu.edu

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

How Important Are Vaccinations? Ask a Church in Texas

Among the many tools that science has developed to combat disease, vaccinations are among the most powerful, because they essentially train your body to resist a particular disease. Yet, the success of vaccinations seems to have lulled a lot of people to sleep about their importance, and some of those people go so far as to believe that the vaccination does more harm than good. Today NBC News reported on what amounts to a field experiment in this idea. More than 20 members of a mega church in Texas recently contracted measles and apparently 16 of them had not been immunized against the disease. It appears that a visitor to the church from another country was the carrier--bringing the disease into an unprotected population. According to a more detailed story on MSNBC, this is a church in which the pastor preaches out against vaccinations. Perhaps most startling is that a local physician interviewed by NBC indicated that fear of "contracting" autism from the vaccination was a major reason given for avoiding the shot--even though there is absolutely not a shred of evidence to connect the two. The Enlightenment brought us the kind of science that has led to the control of disease, but we seem not to be all equally enlightened.

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