the vaccine war



Tom Delbanco, M.D.
April 27, 2010 20:48
Tom Delbanco M.D.A professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a primary care physician at Boston's Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, he also served as senior consultant for this program.

Assuming a) that you have now watched The Vaccine War, that b) some of you have been watching or took part in the discussion/debate/arguments that have marked this Forum for the past several days, or c) that you are looking into this for the first time, let us welcome you (back)! Sigall Bell, Eileen Costello, and I are three doctors who come to this with rather different backgrounds, although we share grounding in "scientific medicine" (here come the next brickbats!).

In order for you to take stock of where you sit on some of the issues touched in the film, we invite you first to address (perhaps once again) the 5 questions posed on this page. Please compare your responses a) to what you felt if you "surveyed yourself" before watching the film, and b) to what a national survey conducted recently revealed about the views of our citizenry.

As I note in my welcoming comments to this discussion, while most often "Where you sit is where you stand," we hope the film made you wiggle in your seats a bit. At the very least, we trust you'll agree that you've met some stimulating folk, each with considerable experience in the area, convictions strongly-held and articulated, and good intentions.

You can now read more from several of them in extended interviews. You may want also to take a look also at our preceding commentary, along with the often heated and illuminating response it triggered. In no particular order, we've addressed so far anecdote's pitfalls and power, individual decisions versus the public health perspective, the rationale for hepatitis B vaccination in early age, the argument for spacing vaccinations differently from the national recommendations, control groups in clinical studies, why measuring the prevalence of conditions such as autism is so complex, a young (doctor) mother's views about vaccinating her own children, a pediatrician's management of individual choice ... and other themes that intertwine.

Far more to come! Join us. As my grandkids would say, bring it on!

posted april 27, 2010

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