Maurie Markman, MD
In the annals of the relationship between clinical scientists and the general public, there can be no more distressing topic than that of the failure of the scientific community to successfully communicate the unquestionable individual and societal benefits of specific vaccines. Current vaccination policy has substantially improved public health and welfare.
Today, we hear of outbreaks of measles in multiple regions of our country. Measles is a potentially serious, vaccine-preventable illness that until recently was all but eliminated within the boundaries of the United States.1
And in many areas of the country, mumps is making a disturbing resurgence. There are many explanations for these remarkably disconcerting comebacks, beginning with the simple fact that if a healthrelated condition has been contained by the established vaccination strategy, as happened for measles and polio, it may be difficult for many who have not lived through an outbreak to appreciate how critical it is to never permit the disease to reappear. One can imagine the different perspective parents would have regarding the seriousness of polio and the need to vaccinate their own children if they knew somebody who had suffered the consequences of this preventable illness.
Further, it has been increasingly documented that the internet, far from being the home of useful, authoritative, objectively valid, and truthful information, can serve as a source of conspiracy theories as well as factually incorrect statements and claims regarding the effectiveness of health-related policy measures.2
I must emphasize that this misinformation may result in serious negative consequences.3
... to read the full story